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      Details revealed for Highway 31 extension project

      Construction of the last phase of the Carolina Bays Parkway is finally getting underway.

      The six-lane freeway probably doesn't get as much traffic now as it should, says SC Department of Transportation project manager Mike Barbee.

      But that should change after the final 3.8 mile extension is finished in the spring of 2017.

      Barbee says the new road should attract plenty of cars.

      "It'll relieve traffic on Highway 544 and Highway 17 and again provide that connectivity that doesn't exist to the South Strand now," Barbee said.

      Construction will cause a few traffic disruptions.

      The biggest will be on Enterprise Road near Socastee. Starting this August, the road will be closed for 9 months.

      Barbee says locals will still be able to get where they need to go.

      "There'll be access at all times during the project," he said. "At no point will access be closed off to any home or business while the project's under construction."

      The project will cost around $230 million. Nearly all of it will come from the state.

      Horry County officials say construction took so long to get started, partly because of delays in getting wetlands permits, but getting the money was also a big issue.

      "Luckily, we were able to leverage some funds from the State Infrastructure Bank with our sales tax and then go through the permitting and design process. It just takes a long time to do projects of this magnitude," said Steve Gosnell, Horry County Infrastructure and Regulation Division Director.

      Barbee is asking drivers to be patient during construction and keep in mind how good it's going to be when the project is done in March, 2017.

      He says the project will include a 3,600-foot bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway that will be similar to the Fantasy Harbour bridge.