Preliminary work on widening a busy stretch of U.S. 501 is scheduled to commence in early October.
But more outward signs of construction, including overnight lane closures, are still several weeks away, according to the S.C. Department of Transportation.
Kyle Berry, resident construction engineer for the S.C. DOT, said the contractor will begin the first construction steps following the first week of October.
With the fall Harley-Davidson motorcycle rally scheduled for Oct. 2-6, transportation officials determined to wait until after the festival before beginning preliminary work, Berry said.
That work involves installing construction signs, removing debris and other items from the construction area and landscaping.
Berry said the work won’t force any lane closures and didn’t think it would impact new landscaping that Horry County installed in the medians from Waccamaw Pines Drive to the Intracoastal Waterway.
Berry estimated it’d be at least two to four weeks before physical construction takes place, putting possible lane closures in late October or early November.
The S.C. DOT has said lane closures would take place at night, though construction activity will likely impact traffic at any time of day.
The U.S. 501 widening will add a third travel lane on the northbound side from S.C. 31 to Gardner Lacy Road. Existing turn lanes will shift to the right, transportation officials have said.
The S.C. DOT had planned to widen southbound U.S. 501 starting in 2016, but the state agency bumped that project to 2020. Carolina Forest Civic Association leaders are lobbying local, state and federal officials to stick to the original 2016 start date.
The widening of northbound U.S. 501 is expected to continue through much of 2014, with an expected completion date of December 2014.
Read more about this story in the Sept. 19 edition of the Carolina Forest Chronicle.