TRAFFIC UPDATE: Highway 31 southern extension open to drivers, SCDOT says

The S.C. 31 Highway southbound extension opened to traffic Thursday afternoon, according to a South Carolina Department of Transportation officials.

Yes, you read that right.

The new six-lane extension is now open in both directions, S.C. DOT says.

“There may still be periodic lane closures in the future as final punch list items are completed,” an S.C. DOT social media post stated.

“Based on Flatiron’s current schedule, the new extension of SC-31 should be open by this weekend,” SCDOT Spokesperson Lauren Roeder previously said in an email Wednesday.

Colorado-based Flatiron Construction is the firm that is handling the final stages of the new road’s construction. The road will give travelers another avenue, heading south from Myrtle Beach toward Georgetown.

The new, 3.8 miles of the Carolina Bays Parkway extends from S.C. Highway 544 and connects with S.C. Highway 707, giving travelers a way to effectively bypass traffic along U.S. Highway 17 through Myrtle Beach.

The road is three lanes in each directions.

Grand Strand travelers have waited a long time for this road as environmental battles, weather and bridge repairs kept pushing the date back.

Over the summer SCDOT said the road was going to open this fall after it was announced a bridge deck was going to need to be relaid to ensure the bridge didn’t need major repairs prematurely.

Crews work on the Highway 31 Bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway near Socastee. Extending the corridor to SC 707 has taken longer than expected. The new bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway needs to be resurfaced before the road opens and is not expected to be completed until the fall of 2019. JASON LEE jlee@thesunnews.com
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Development and Horry County reporter Tyler Fleming joined The Sun News in May of 2018. He covers other stuff too, like reporting on beer, bears, breaking news and Coastal Carolina University. He graduated from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2018 and was the 2017-18 editor-in-chief of The Daily Tar Heel. He has won (and lost) several college journalism awards.