Myrtle Beach sewer project, driving headache but business blessing

A nearly $3 million sewer project along Highway 17 in Myrtle Beach has created commuting headaches for those who drive the route each day.

That's because the median and some lanes have been closed between Chestnut Road and the US 17/Kings Highway split to replace a nearly 30-year-old sewer beneath Highway 17.

Murray Willits has to drive to King One Properties, off Highway 17 South, at least two times per week for work.

"It's like playing cat and mouse trying to cross over," he said.

Willits told WPDE NewsChannel 15 that he wonders how the city decides when to do these construction projects, particularly because tourists will start filtering in within the next few months.

"There probably is no perfect timing for it. But the fall going into the winter would have seemed to make more sense than the winter going into the spring," Willits said.

We posed Willit's question to Myrtle Beach Spokesman Mark Kruea.

"It's a three-month project anyway you look at it. The fall is a little busier than the wintertime is. We do try to do these construction projects in the off season. So that we are inconveniencing as few people as possible," Kruea said.

He also added that there are more people visiting in the wintertime than in previous years, so there isn't an ideal time to start a construction project anymore.

However, the construction project hasn't been all bad.

The traffic has helped to drive more foot traffic into local businesses like the Gallery Boutique, which opened its doors a little more than a year ago.

"It has actually helped. You can actually see the windows better. So, I've gotten a lot of people coming from sitting on the road. They were like, 'I was stopped in traffic and I've always wanted to come in, so I figured today was the day,'" said Hannah Parrish, owner of Gallery Boutique.

The project began at the end of January.

It is expected to be complete by the end of April.

This is the fifth year the city has extended the sewer line, and Kruea estimated the project to cost, in total, around $12 million dollars.

The project will be officially finished after this installment.