NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – On Monday, the City of North Myrtle Beach began a project to put overhead power and communication lines underground. It’s part of an overall project that will also include installing water and sewer updates.
Right now, the city is working with R.H. Moore Company, Inc. to perform the project in the Crescent Beach section of North Myrtle Beach between 15th Avenue South and 28th Avenue South. The work will occur in phases over several years.
“It involves removing all the overhead wires and utilities like power, cable and telephone and replacing those with buried facilities,” said Director of Public Works and City Engineer, Kevin Blayton.
Blayton said putting those lines underground helps the city and people who live there, especially during storms.
“It provides for less damage during storm events, it provides for quicker recovery for storm events and then, of course, you get the ancillary benefits of aesthetic improvements where you’re not looking at the wires anymore,” he added.
The power and communications utilities conversion will cost around $7.3 million and the additional water and sewer improvements will cost about $3.5 million.
Blayton said while this will benefit the city during storms, there are some concerns that come with putting the utility lines underground.
“What happens in the underground system is, of course, you do not have that wind damage,” said Blayton. “But the caveat to the underground system is if you do have a significant tidal surge you can potentially have flooding damage to those underground facilities.”
As crews work, Ocean Boulevard will be closed in two-block segments that will change every few weeks. There will be detours set up, but roads will always remain open to local traffic.