Study hopes to draw online traffic for final input session
While traffic counts are rising on Highway 17 along the Waccamaw Neck, they have been underwhelming on the routes that would let the public comment on a list of proposed highway improvements over the next 20 years.
“We’ve heard a few comments on the website and the visualizations. Not really a whole lot,” said Mark Hoeweler, executive director of the Grand Strand Area Transportation Study.
A Zoom meeting on April 1 will give the public the chance to comment on the $53.3 million list of road improvements.
GSATS funded the recent study by the engineering firm AECOM as an update to a 2003 study that outlined projects and policy changes that could help avoid the day when it would require six lanes to move traffic on Highway 17 through the Waccamaw Neck.
The updated study found that the cost of six lanes is now out of reach. Only a mile-long section of Bypass 17 from Bellamy Avenue to Highway 707 is proposed for six lanes, at a cost of $12.5 million.
“With turning lanes, most of that area is six lanes already,” Hoeweler said.
The study breaks down the proposed projects into short-, intermediate- and long-term.
It lists $2.5 million worth of projects to complete between now and 2025 that include closing median cuts and reconfiguring traffic signals.
Reworking the intersection of Bypass 17 and Highway 707 ($4.2 million) leads the list for projects from 2025 through 2035. It is followed by a $4.6 million project to install a raised median between the North Causeway and South Causeway intersections and a reconfiguration of the Litchfield Drive and Country Club Drive intersections ($2.4 million).
A pair of roundabouts on Kings River Road, at Waverly Road and Hagley Drive, are also in the 2025-35 projects.
Widening the mile of Bypass 17 is on the list for 2035 through 2040.
A companion study funded by Georgetown County and conducted by Stantec looked at land use along the corridor. That is being used by the county as part of its update to the future land-use plan. That process has been delayed by the hacking of the county computer system, said Holly Richardson, the county planning director.
While the land-use study generated most of the discussion, Hoeweler hopes people will weigh in on the traffic study.
“They should look at it in the context of trying to be prepared for what the future might hold,” he said. “The intent of the corridor study is to have a menu of projects to be eligible for federal funding.”
There is a link to the final draft of the corridor study and to the Zoom meeting at gsats.org. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.