Traffic was snarled on Cultra Road Tuesday and again yesterday, but by Dec. 15, barring bad weather, Conwayites will think the inconvenience was well worth it, according to Anna Barnhill, Horry County’s construction manager with the S.C. Department of Transportation.
SCDOT has been planning the improvements on the highly-traveled road for several months, but was held up temporarily when they partnered with Horry Electric Cooperative to construct turn lanes into its headquarters office.
Barnhill said Horry Electric chipped in half of the about $300,000 cost and received half from the County Transportation Committee, so the project then came under SCDOT.
“I think at the end of the day it worked out great,” she said.
Tuesday and Wednesday’s work marked the beginning of the SCDOT’s $1.2 million paving project that was contracted to CR Jackson, Inc. of Conway.
The project started on the section of road from Oak Street to U.S. 701 North with reclamation of the road’s asphalt.
Barnhill explained that with reclamation, machines churn up the road and spit it out at the correct width. The churned asphalt is mixed with cement that makes a “super-strong base” for the asphalt. After the base is laid, the road will be paved and it will have an additional two-foot wide shoulder on each side.
“…where as right now if you were to go off the road on Cultra, you’re really pretty much in the ditch,” Barnhill said.
The base will need a two-day curing time. If the weather cooperates, that section of Cultra Road should be done by Thanksgiving, according to Barnhill.
Work will then move to the longer section of the road from Oak Street to U.S. 501 where the same process will be followed.
The contract calls for the total project to be complete by Dec. 15.
Although there will be some delays at times while the work progresses, Barnhill said there should not be a time when the road is completely closed.
Along with the paving, motorists will benefit from the new turn lanes, according to Barnhill, who said it’s really going to be nice going forward.
During this year, SCDOT has restored the Main Street Memorial Bridge and resurfaced a large portion of Main Street.
Barnhill says the department has one more large project planned for Conway, and that’s the resurfacing of a section of U.S. 501 Bypass at Lake Busbee.
She says it’s possible that patching and widening that section can be done before March, but SCDOT restrictions will not allow paving before March 1.
SCDOT has a contract that calls for that project to be complete by June 20.