AYNOR, S.C. (WBTW) — The South Carolina Department of Transportation announced Wednesday morning it will try a different approach to alleviating the long beach traffic back-ups on U.S. Highway 501 around Aynor this weekend.
The D.O.T. will change two of the traffic lights on Hwy. 501 in Aynor to flashing yellow lights for 501 traffic and flashing red lights for side street approaches. The plan is for this to be done on a trial basis during what the state considers peak traffic periods on Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5.
Although, the plans are only a pilot program many people who live and work in Aynor are not looking forward to the traffic changes.
“That is the stupidest thing ever because as it is now, we will never get out. We will be stuck in this town forever. They can come and sit at the red light and then you interview them and get their opinion because it makes me mad because it’s ridiculous,” Dean Squires said.
Aynor Town leaders tell News13 they understand beach traffic is an issue but this is something that will also affect businesses along Highway 501.
“You know Aynor is the gateway into Myrtle Beach. You know, we don’t just want to be run through and run out of without some consideration taken for our folks here as well. Mainly our businesses, it’s not a matter of getting traffic out back and forth off 501. We’re talking about our businesses losing business and we don’t want that,” Council Member Paul McCracken said.
Another concern for Aynor residents are more traffic accidents associated with this intersection. The D.O.T. encourages locals seeking to cross US 501 to use Julius H. Goodson Avenue.
“I would think it would just be a matter of time before you have a lot of major accidents because somebody is not going to take the Bypass. People that have been leaving here in this town forever and ever are not going to travel 5 miles out of their way to utilize a bypass,” Joanie Richardson said.
S.C.D.O.T. engineers will monitor and evaluate the traffic flow, and the strategy could continue on weekends throughout the rest of the summer should they find the results to be satisfactory.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol and Town of Aynor are also involved in coordinating this effort.
Aynor Police Chief David Thompson issued the below statement to News13:
All decisions to adjust traffic lights on Hwy 501 rest with SCDOT. All local traffic is encouraged to utilize all options other than crossing Hwy 501 during the peak times of 9am-3pm on Saturdays and Sundays.The goal of the Town of Aynor is that all local residents and visitors motoring in our town reach their destinations safely and efficiently.
D.O.T. Engineers say they have the option to revert to the usual traffic pattern if they notice any major issues this weekend.