Officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday for the Palmetto Pointe Boulevard extension, which is expected to open to traffic next week.
A project in the RIDE III road-building program, the work extends the Socastee area road roughly one mile to S.C. 544. The road was built with money from a 1% sales tax that voters approved in 2016.
“This is wonderful,” said Lynn Baer, a resident of the Palmetto Glen development. “It took a long time, but it happened and we’re happy for it.”
Southern Asphalt was selected as the contractor for the project. Crews began work in March, and the extension is expected to be completed by the end of the month. During Friday’s ceremony, Horry County Council Chairman Johnny Gardner pointed out the extension will be the first major RIDE III project to be finished.
While the project was budgeted at about $7.5 million, county spokeswoman Kelly Moore said the work is estimated to cost around $4 million. Any leftover money will go back to the RIDE III program.
For those living in area neighborhoods like Baer, the project provides an additional entrance and exit at S.C. 544 near Big Block Road. The only means of egress has been at U.S. 17 Bypass.
While he expects more traffic on Palmetto Pointe Boulevard once the extension opens, Baer said the project’s completion could end up reducing response times from emergency vehicles.
“The positives definitely outweigh the negatives,” he said.
The new road includes bike and pedestrian facilities such as sidewalks and wider travel lanes, in addition to two traffic circles.
RIDE Program Manager Jason Thompson said there is a limited number of punch list items that still must be completed, including cleanup and signage work.
Horry County Councilman Cam Crawford, who represents the Socastee area, said the project is vital for public safety.
“It demonstrates our commitment to good infrastructure,” he said.
Officials said the opening is planned for Nov. 30.