MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – After a two day delay and a meeting of Myrtle Beach City officials, plans to close Fred Nash Boulevard for 90 days are back on and set to begin Wednesday.
According to city officials, a portion of Fred Nash Boulevard, between Farrow Parkway and Emory Road, will be closed to all traffic for approximately three months beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday. After originally announcing the temporary closure last week, city staff has reviewed the plans and decided there would be no alterations made to the original plans of the closure.
Monday, city staff spoke with residents, business operators and others along the area that will be closed to alert them to the need for the road closure and outline alternative travel patterns, city officials report.
The closure is required for new commercial construction on both sides of Fred Nash Boulevard, to include water, sewer and stormwater systems which must be extended beneath the road. Plans also call for construction of a traffic circle, or round-about, on Fred Nash Boulevard to better handle the increased volume of traffic through the area when those new retail locations open.
New businesses at that location will include a Walmart neighborhood store, a bank, a gas station and other retail outlets.
During this temporary closure of Fred Nash Boulevard, drivers should avoid trying to cross US 17 at Shetland Lane, advise leaders of Myrtle Beach.
Instead, city officials recommend drivers traveling southbound on US 17 should take the U-turn under the Backgate bridge at the Farrow Parkway exit. Then, once northbound on US 17, drivers can make a safe right-hand turn onto Shetland Lane without having to cross US 17.
Likewise, traffic exiting Shetland Lane should take a right-hand turn onto northbound US 17, rather than attempting to cross US 17, city officials recommend. Drivers then can use the Harrelson Boulevard interchange to reverse direction and head southbound on US 17.
Concerned community members, many of them parents of children who attend Palmetto Preschool and Learning Center on Fred Nash Boulevard, pleaded on the city’s Facebook page following the announcement for the construction to be stopped, but officials have not responded to one of the more than 30 comments as of Tuesday afternoon.
“I would like to see this road closure canceled. Many families travel this road twice every day to take our children to school. If we are all to go down the bypass to the turn off road to access Fred Nash to get to Palmetto Academy this is going to be a ton of extra traffic accessing this one road. It is already a death trap and we are going to add to it????? I have seen so many close calls and fatal accidents and I think the City should reconsider this immediately. Our children’s life’s are in your hands, please don’t close Fred Nash,” writes Kim W.
Another concerned parent proposed the idea of waiting until school traffic would not be a factor on Fred Nash Blvd. before closing the busy road.
“This project should postponed until June AFTER school is out for the summer. What is wrong with this city? What are the city planners thinking?? Are you really so money hungry for retail that you jeopardize the safety of families trying to bring their children to one of the best schools in Myrtle Beach,” argues Karina O.
With the intersection of 17 Bypass and Shetland Lane being the scene of many catastrophic crashes, Angie P. voices her concern for the parents picking up children from Palmetto Preschool and Learning Center.
“I can not believe that with a school on this road that you are going to close the safe way into and out of school. How many people have already been killed at the other entrance to Fred Nash Blvd, that you want us to use it with our children?” she questions.
Palmetto Preschool and Learning Center posted the city’s Facebook announcement of the Fred Nash Boulevard closure on its own Facebook page warning parents, in part, to “…allow extra time to safely get to and from preschool for the next 90 days. Also feel free to continue to express your displeasure to the city for their decision to require our families to take the more dangerous route on to and off of 17 at Shetland.”
The school’s complete post can be read below:
“Parents- Please read this important information about the new traffic pattern the City of MB is beginning on Wednesday morning. I apologize for the last minute notice, but we had been told they were working on a new plan instead of this one and just got word today that they were officially closing that section of Fred Nash Blvd on Wednesday. Know that we are working with the city as they try to make it safer for our families, but are unhappy with their current plan. Please allow extra time to safely get to and from preschool for the next 90 days. Also feel free to continue to express your displeasure to the city for their decision to require our families to take the more dangerous route on to and off of 17 at Shetland.”