Myrtle Beach Bike Rallies

Bikefest traffic loop closed early two days in a row. Could it happen again?

Bikefest participants ride Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach, where business owners say business has been slower this year compared to previous ones.
Bikefest participants ride Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach, where business owners say business has been slower this year compared to previous ones. jlee@thesunnews.com

The 23-mile traffic loop has already closed early the first two nights of the 2018 Atlantic Beach Bikefest. As the third day kicks off and bad weather moves into the area, could bikers and other drivers expect to see the loop close early again?

Capt. Joey Crosby with the Myrtle Beach Police said it will depend on how much traffic is in the loop.

"The purpose is to keep traffic moving on Ocean Boulevard," he said.

If traffic surrounding the loop is flowing freely as the night goes on, then the loop may not be needed for the full 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. period, he said.

The decision to close the loop early starts with advisers along its path and a helicopter from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division that keep an eye on road conditions. Then the various law enforcement agencies working Bikefest determine each night how long the loop is needed based off what they see.

While any decision about Sunday's duration of the loop will not be made until later, with the current 2 a.m. end time plan still in place, the potential for rain could be an indicator that the loop will close again.

Crosby said that last year it rained heavily one night and decreased the traffic to a point where the loop was no longer needed.

The National Weather Service is predicting up to 4 inches of rain for the remainder of Memorial Day Weekend, as well as the potential for flash flooding from an already saturated ground.

"Overflow of water from ditches and streams could lead to flash flooding as well, where the danger increases greatly, due to the power of moving water," a NWS brief released Sunday morning states.

Weather aside, this year's Bikefest seems to have less people filling the roads. Attendees and Ocean Blvd. businesses alike have reported less people than previous years, and many think it is because of the loop itself.

"It's been slow," Robert Alston, manager of Peaches Corner, told The Sun News. "I think because the loop is up, and people don't like it and they're staying away from the boulevard."

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