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Closing of U.S. 501 Bypass ‘imminent,’ City of Conway reports

A truck drives through flood waters near the Waccamaw River outside Conway last week. The river was already less than a foot below flood stage a week and a half before Irma was expected to reach the United States.
A truck drives through flood waters near the Waccamaw River outside Conway last week. The river was already less than a foot below flood stage a week and a half before Irma was expected to reach the United States. jlee@thesunnews.com

The closure of U.S. 501 Bypass was “imminent” Sunday night, according to a Facebook post from the City of Conway.

“SCDOT has notified the City of Conway that the total closure of 501 Bypass is imminent as crews work on their flood prevention project,” a post with a 8:26 p.m. time stamp said.

Conway Public Information Officer Taylor Newell confirmed that the highway’s closure was expected to take place Sunday night while the city fights the county over the prospect. However, she said she knows few details and deferred to the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT).

“All I know is they are closing it to work on the flood prevention project that they are working on putting the barriers out there,” Newell said. “As far as the details of it, I don’t know. I just know we’re closing it.”

City officials are concerned man-made barriers being put in place will ultimately put more homes in danger of extreme flooding from the effects of Hurricane Florence. The City of Conway says the county and state have not provided sufficient data to alleviate its concerns. Horry County, meanwhile, argues that the actions will not cause more flooding.

Nonetheless, it appears the highway will be closed tonight. When asked if there were preferred alternate routes for folks traveling, Newell said options in the area were limited.

“We have roads flooding all around it right now, so that continues to change,” she said. “We aren’t necessarily giving people a certain detour because as the hours go by much of the roads are flooding around the rivers.”

The Sun News reached out to the SCDOT and is awaiting a call back.

The City of Conway also reported Sunday night that Main Street between Boundary Street and Mill Pond Road has been closed due to flooding of Crabtree Canal.

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