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Highway 17: Prompted by residents, DOT will add 45 mph signs

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

More and larger speed limit signs are coming to the 45 mph zone of Highway 17 in Pawleys Island. They follow a year-long campaign by the Waccamaw Neck Council of Property Owners Associations to slow traffic.

“This is really pretty gratifying because they are doing more than we asked,” said Tom Stickler, the POA council president.

The state Department of Transportation will install 13 new 45 mph signs from the start of the zone south of Allston Plantation north through the Pawleys Island business district. Those signs will be 30 by 36 inches. An unspecified number of existing signs will be upgraded.

“SCDOT agrees that additional signs in selected areas could help increase awareness of the speed limit,” Kyle Berry, the district engineering administrator, wrote in a letter to the POA council. “In addition, SCDOT will assure that the signs are adequately sized for improved visibility.”

Richard Pope, DOT’s maintenance engineer in Georgetown County, said the new signs are on order and will be installed as soon as they come in. “They will be a little larger,” he said.

The POA council started asking DOT for additional speed limit signs over a year ago. It also wants a flashing sign in the northbound lane of Highway 17 where the speed limit changes from 60 to 45 mph. The agency doesn’t use those signs, Berry told the group, but it will evaluate the impact of the increased speed limit signs before making a final decision.

The POA council also wants that sign to display the speed of approaching vehicles. “We haven’t given up on that,” Stickler said.

DOT extended the 45 mph zone about a mile south on Highway 17 last year. Coastal Montessori Charter School is building a facility at the intersection of Old Plantation Drive. An assisted living facility is planned at the entrance to Allston Plantation. And building began this year in a residential development with 49 lots just south of the 45 mph zone.

“I admit that coming up from the south it doesn’t look any different,” Stickler said. “But they don’t realize that there are all these entrances to subdivisions.”

Stickler also admits that signs aren’t the only answer to speeding. “It has to have some marginal effect,” he said, but “I don’t know what can be done to get better enforcement.”

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