It’s about turning left, people were told as they followed the arrows on maps showing Fred Nash Boulevard connecting to Harrelson Boulevard.
With construction planned for 2021, people were given two options to review as the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) and Horry County held an information meeting at Socastee Elementary School.
Fred Nash Boulevard currently runs from beside the Walmart near The Market Common, parallel to U.S. 17 Bypass and up to a gaping hole on the bypass side of the Myrtle Beach International Airport runway. The road had connected to what is currently Harrelson Boulevard before the interchange was built over U.S. 17 and a collapsed pipe forced the road closure north of Stacey Road more than a decade ago.
The SCDOT plan calls for Nash Boulevard to be widened to two lanes with a turn lane on the southern end of the road. The three lanes would taper down to two lanes in line with the airport property line north of Stacey Drive.
Those two lanes then feed into Harrelson Boulevard and that’s where the plans diverge.
One plan has traffic being allowed to merge onto Harrelson toward the airport terminal but not being allowed to turn left at the Mall Drive intersection at Coastal Grand Mall. It includes two new traffic signals.
The current traffic plan does not allow traffic from Mall Drive to turn left onto Harrelson.
The other plan appears as a traffic circle with the four lanes of Harrelson slicing through the middle.
The second plan allows traffic from Nash to enter into a circle with choices of east and west on Harrelson and a feed into Mall Drive. The traffic from Mall Drive, in the second plan, would be allowed to enter into the circle with the choice of a left turn onto Harrelson.
The four lanes of Harrelson that run in both directions will be allowed to continue straight without entering the circle.
The second plan includes six new traffic signals regulating the flow around the circle and straight traffic.
SCDOT estimates the cost of the project to be around $19 million.
The project is included in the Horry County RIDE III Transportation Program and is funded with the 1% sales tax.