Horry County leaders said they would form a task force to study the infrastructure and public safety needs of the 90, 905 and Conway Perimeter Road corridors to cope with rapid growth and construction. that occur in these areas.
“This group will be tasked with dealing immediately and rolling up their sleeves and looking at these areas and coming up with a phased plan and an emergency as to what is needed and what needs to be done along these great corridors.” , said the county council. member Al Allen, who chairs the Infrastructure & Regulation subcommittee in announcing the task force on Tuesday. “It’s time for the board to have something in hand as to where we need to try to get funds instead of just spending money on something, we need to get it worked out and plan for the future.”
Major traffic corridors around Conway, including Highway 90, Highway 905, the Conway Ring Road, and other highways, have become the last frontier in a rapidly growing county that is adding thousands of new residents and houses every year. U.S. Census data released last month showed nearly 82,000 new residents moved to Horry County between 2010 and 2020, with much of that growth occurring in unincorporated areas of the county, including along Highway 90 and other corridors.
The new residents – and those who have lived in Horry County their entire lives – said they chose to live in the once rural areas outside of Conway because they offered a quiet place for a home and easy access to amenities. shops and the beach. Hwy 90 is a 20 mile route from Conway to North Myrtle Beach, Hwy 905 is a 23+ mile route from Conway, through Longs and North Carolina, and Conway Perimeter Road is currently planned and will link El Bethel Route to Conway to Highway 701.
But the growth along these corridors has angered residents old and new alike, who complain about deterioration and dangerous traffic, increased flooding where this has not happened in the past, and that the he sprawl of the suburbs reaches their once rural doors.
“… I know the development is going to come, but there are people who want to live in the country and they are building a city around us,” Tammy Baker, longtime resident of Highway 90, who’s is joining organizational efforts to push the county to build more responsibly, The Sun News reported earlier this year.
As residents organized themselves and became increasingly concerned, they came out in force at the county planning commission, county council and other community meetings to call for a slowdown in development. In response to those concerns, the county council last month put in place a moratorium on new rezoning along Highway 90 until funds can be allocated to widen that road.
Discussions about funding a Highway 73, which is unrelated to the fast-growing corridors, even sparked discussions for funding Highway 90.
Allen said on Tuesday that the task force will include the following members:
County Council member Mark Causey, who represents Loris and Longs, will chair;
State Representative Kevin Hardee (R-Conway will be vice president;
county council member Orton Bellamy, who represents Conway;
County Council Member Danny Hardee, who represents portions of the Highway 90 and Highway 905 corridors;
April O’Leary, head of the anti-flood construction group and pro-head of Horry County Rising;
Danny Knight, the head of the Horry County Solid Waste Authority, which operates a large landfill site along Highway 90;
And Conway Burt von Herrmann’s lawyer.
County Council Member Dennis DiSabato suggested adding State Senator Greg Hembree (R-Little River) to the task force as he represents some of the corridors and has expressed willingness to seek state funding. for Highway 90, DiSabato said. It is not clear whether Hembree will eventually join the task force.
Allen said “everything is on the table” for the task force, which will have county staff members who will support their research efforts. Ultimately, Allen said, the task force will present the county council with a list of the projects needed and ways to fund those projects. These projects could include infrastructure, public safety, flooding, traffic and other topics, Allen said.
“It’s very broad because they have to be looked at in conjunction with each other,” he said. “Growth happens that way, a lot of growth is already there, there are a lot of needs and those needs need to be looked at, identified and prioritized. “
Allen warned that while the county could not provide all the funding it would need to complete the necessary projects along these corridors, it should at least know what to prioritize. Estimates for the widening of the entire Highway 90, for example, are around $ 500 million.
“We may not have the funding right now, but again, we have to know what the needs are and they have to be prioritized,” Allen said. “Because if we don’t start doing something now, we’re going to fall behind on 8-ball. “
Allen said he had encouraged the task force to meet “as soon as possible”. It is not yet known how long the working group will be in operation, nor when or where it will meet. Allen said the task force was necessary because the Infrastructure & Regulation subcommittee could not manage the work in addition to its other oversight functions of various county departments.
“It’s a big area, big needs,” Allen said. “… Before we can find the funding and allocate the funding, we need to know what those needs are and how much it’s going to cost. “