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Here’s the latest on what’s happening with a Highway 31 interchange in Carolina Forest

Carolina Forest continues to expand over the years

Carolina Forest is a residential powerhouse in Horry County. Started in 1997, it is actually less developed than originally planned. What does the future of the area look like and what can residents expect?
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Carolina Forest is a residential powerhouse in Horry County. Started in 1997, it is actually less developed than originally planned. What does the future of the area look like and what can residents expect?

A traffic-relieving interchange is one step closer to being built in the middle of Carolina Forest.

County Council’s Infrastructure and Regulation committee met on Tuesday to discuss using excess RIDE II funds to start purchasing the land needed to build an interchange onto S.C. Highway 31.

The committee agreed to pass the resolution on to full council to be voted on at an upcoming meeting.

In total, up to $1.5 million will be made available to purchase the land from developer Forestar (USA) Realtor Group. The county is also looking at getting money from other areas like S.C. Department of Transportation funding or public grants.

“Everyone in the county will benefit if we can relieve the traffic from Carolina Forest onto U.S. Highway 501,” Horry County Planning Director David Schwerd said.

The interchange will be located at Revolutionary Way and Augusta Drive near the Carolina Forest Library. It will give Carolina Forest residents a way to bypass the traffic-heavy commercial areas that bookend the region.

Earlier this year, the developer applied for an official map exemption that would have let them build 60 additional homes in the Parks @ Carolina Forest project on the site where the interchange is expected to go. County Council denied this request on June 18, which meant the county must purchase the land within 75 days or the developer would be able to build.

Allowing the developer to build homes means the interchange project isn’t going to happen or the county will have to purchase the land and go through the home removal process. Schwerd said the developer is open to selling the land and buying the land before its developed, which will be much cheaper in the long run.

While the exact price has not been agreed on yet, negotiations are set to begin soon, and Schwerd said the developers are cooperative. If council approves the resolution, he said it should not take all the money allocated to purchase the land.

“It should be significantly less,” Schwerd said.

In addition, Schwerd told council the county has been proactive in securing the other right-of-ways needed to get the interchange built. Some of this land was acquired through the Berkshire Forest and Berkshire Village rezoning process.

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