Wednesday, July 3, 2013
The Citizens Coalition for Ocean Highway brought their concerns about the U.S. 17 improvements to the Grand Strand Area Transportation Study Policy Committee last Friday, June 28, but if the coalition had hopes of stopping or slowing the project, those aspirations were dashed.
The committee listened to a presentation from Steve Goggans that included a plea for a delay in median improvements to the roadway through “the heart of Pawleys Island’s business district.”
“We have more than 2,000 individuals and over 150 businesses, and those numbers continue to grow daily,” he said.
Goggans said that in the past year, representatives of the coalition have been bounced “from group to group,” as they attempted to get their concerns heard. “Now, we’re told we’re too late.”
Committee chairman Rep. Nelson Hardwick said that public hearings were held on the project, but Goggans countered that “admittedly, a lot of the people in Pawleys Island were asleep.”
“As people have begun to understand the project, the opposition has grown and grown,” Goggans said, adding that main concerns include the landscaping and the placement of U-turns and stoplights.
“Details of the plan have been laid out since the public hearings,” Goggans said later on Friday, and as those details have become known, the opposition has grown.
He said that the current plan would severely limit access to the small businesses that line U.S. 17.
“About 85 to 90 percent of drivers would drive past the businesses and would then have to go back to them,” he said.
He asked that a citizens task force be appointed to work with the panel in creating a redesign.
Leah Quattlebaum provided an update of other projects under the purview of the S.C. Department of Transportation, including the widening of SC 707.
“We expect the contracts to be let in August,” she said.
By Anita Crone
For The Times
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