Southbound traffic on U.S. 17 Bypass at Farrow Parkway and S.C. 707 will move about 100 feet to the west starting Monday night.

The shift is part of the “backgate” project that will eventually involve a flyover bridge above the busy intersection. The term “backgate” refers to the former Air Force base checkpoint that was once located near the intersection.

The project, part of the Riding On A Penny slate of road projects, began in 2011 and is scheduled for completion in August of 2014.

Monday night’s shift to the west will begin around 8:30 p.m. and take about five or six hours, according to SCDOT representative Mike Barbee.

During that time, the traffic signals at the intersection will be turned off. The South Carolina Highway Patrol will handle traffic control during the switch.

There will also be electronic message boards alerting motorists to the construction activity.

Barbee said the switch would be completed in time for the Tuesday morning commuting traffic. The intersection sees between 60,000 and 70,000 vehicles pass through it every day.

A similar shift on the northbound side was made last May. Barbee said Monday’s move would open up the median and make room for the construction of the bridge over the intersection.

When finished, there will be twin bridges over the intersection. There will be two southbound left turn lanes onto Farrow Parkway.

At the south end of the project at Palmetto Pointe Boulevard where the ramps tie back into U.S. 17 Bypass, there will be two left turn lanes coming out of Palmetto Pointe northward onto U.S. 17 Bypass. The traffic light at that intersection will remain in place.

Barbee suggested that motorists leaving or heading to the Market Common area on Farrow Parkway use Fred Nash Boulevard to avoid the construction area. That road comes out on U.S. 17 Bypass just south of the airport runway.

Horry County spokesperson Lisa Bourcier said most of the comments about the project have been very positive.

“The folks at Market Common were a little apprehensive at first but have had nothing but good things to say about the project,” she said.

Bourcier added that the 45 mph speed limit would be continued through the construction zone and would be enforced.

A virtual video tour of how the project actually will work can be found on the Riding On A Penny section of the county’s web site,

Riding On A Penny was designed to pay for highway infrastructure projects through the implementation of a one-cent sales tax dedicated to the program.

The program began in 2007 and has a seven-year lifespan.

The original budget for the backgate project was $49.5 million. It has since been revised to between $115 and $120 million.

Tom O’Dare • 488-7261

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