072017 Roads: Kings River widening still on project list
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Kings River Road at Willbrook Boulevard.

Roads: Kings River widening still on project list

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

A project that officials say will never be built is also one that they are reluctant to put to rest. A proposal to widen Kings River Road and Willbrook Boulevard to four lanes is among Georgetown County’s list of projects for a regional transportation plan now under review.

“It will never get built,” said Boyd Johnson, the county planning director.

County Administrator Sel Hemingway said it was “impractical and probably will never happen.”

“We’re not going to widen the road,” County Council Member John Thomas said. He received complaints earlier this year when it was first reported that the widening project would be submitted by the county for a 2040 update of the Metropolitan Transportation Plan. That is being conducted by the Grand Strand Area Transportation Study. The public can review the draft plan today from noon to 2 p.m. at the Murrells Inlet Community Center. It is also online at gsats.org.

In May, Johnson said the project was off the list. That was a mistake, he said last week.

Local governments in Georgetown and Horry counties submit projects for the plan. They are ranked by a committee for funding through the state Department of Transportation.

The Kings River widening ranks seventh among project for funding in 2021 through 2030.

Although certain it won’t be done, Thomas said there are two reasons to keep it on the list. “Who knows where we will be in 2040,” he said. If it isn’t on the list now, it can’t be done in the distant future.

The other reason, he said, is that it allows the county to hold a place on the projects list that could allow the county to submit an alternative. Hemingway agreed it serves as a placeholder in the process of seeking road funds.

One project not on the list is a raised median on Highway 17 between the North and South Causeways. That was left off by mistake and will be added, Johnson said. A similar project between Waverly Road and Baskervill Drive, completed in 2015, drew opposition from some business owners and residents.

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