Proposed Postal Way development could help alleviate Hwy 501 congestion

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – A proposed development could add more than 600 homes to the front end of Carolina Forest. County leaders will consider changing a 70 acre area on Postal Way from commercial to residential.

The area for consideration is the wooded land behind the former Gander Mountain and Carolina Forest Publix.

Some people who live in or frequent Carolina Forest worry with more homes comes more traffic.

“I feel like it would be very very very bad for this area,” said Pamella Manngard. She shops and goes to church in Carolina Forest, but because of the traffic, she doesn’t own a home there.

“That’s why we particularly didn’t move to this area,” Manngard told News13. “My husband didn’t want the traffic.”

The deputy director of Horry County planning and zoning wants people to know this could be a good thing for traffic.

“This particular project would generate significantly less traffic than any highway commercial development that would be located on that parcel,” said deputy director David Schwerd.

The proposal would secure the extension of Postal Way, which Schwerd said would provide an outlet to Highway 501 congestion.

Right now that extension is part of Ride III, the county’s nearly $600 million, voter-approved road improvement program.

“If the development occurs prior to the county’s construction, they’ll be responsible for constructing it,” Schwerd explained to News13. “Which would save the taxpayers dollars in the long run.”

Basically, if the developer wanted to start on the land before the county begins construction on Ride III, that developer would be required to construct the portion of Postal Way on their property.

The county will still be responsible for making the connection from their property line over to Waccamaw Pines Drive. This would ultimately take drivers out to the last stoplight on 501 prior to reaching Highway 31.

“The backups start occurring at that light,” Schwerd said. “So if you can get out at the light, it would significantly reduce the amount of time that you’d have to spend on 501 and Carolina Forest intersection.”

Schwerd said the developer could also install a second entrance from the road that runs adjacent to the old Gander Mountain site.

Councilman Johnny Vaught, whose district includes this area, said there’s no need for major concern over increased traffic.

“I don’t think it will be as bad as they probably think it will be,” Vaught told News13 Monday. “Because it would be easier for people to go out behind Tanger than it would be for them to go through Carolina Forest.”

Vaught said council wants to hear the public’s thought on the matter and encourages them to attend the public hearing on November 2. The planning commission will go over the developer’s ideas at a workshop on October 28.