Thursday, July 24, 2014
There will soon be eight traffic lights on U.S. 17 in the Pawleys Island area.
A traffic light, which was part of the original plan for Pawleys Island Plaza shopping center, has been approved by the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT).
That traffic light, in addition to a new light planned at Tyson Drive near the new Lowes Foods shopping center that’s being installed in the next 60 days, will make eight.
There is one at each of the causeways to the island, one at Martin Luther King Road, and three in Litchfield.
Micheal Bethea, District 5 traffic engineer for SCDOT, confirmed the new light on July 18.
He said the intersection will have to be lined up since Petigru Road on the west side of the highway and Allston Blvd. on the east side of the highway are not directly across from each other.
“There was some back and forth between us and the developer before we approved the signal,” Bethea said.
He said he is not sure when the traffic light at Petigru will be installed, since it will be installed by the developer under an encroachment permit.
He said turn lanes are already there at the location, so that will not be a problem.
When asked about the number of traffic lights on U.S. 17 in that area, Bethea said coordination of traffic lights is part of the upcoming median consolidation project.
Boyd Johnson, planning director for Georgetown County, said that highway experts at SCDOT have to weigh the need for each traffic light because they do affect traffic flow.
But, he said, he doesn’t know of any traffic lights in the Pawleys Island area that aren’t needed.
“You certainly don’t want red lights unless you have to have them because they diminish the capacity of the road,” Johnson said.
“Every time you put in a red light, you are slowing down traffic and backing it up. Everybody thinks about the safety aspects of having traffic lights, but there’s something to be said for moving cars through the area.”