New traffic signal coming after several wrecks at Pawleys Island intersection

A new traffic light is coming to the area of Tyson Drive and Ocean Highway, near the new Lowes Foods, in Pawleys Island.

That intersection was the location of three serious wrecks within the last five weeks and residents were very vocal about their safety concerns.

One of those residents was Nancy Crawford, whose son, Justin was involved in the first of those wrecks back in June.

"It's traumatizing to think I could have died there easily," Justin Crawford explained.

Although no one was hurt in that wreck, Crawford said now he goes out of his way to avoid that intersection.

"I refuse to go down that road from now on, I haven't even considered going on that road ever since. Right as you're at the five way intersection to go on to Tyson I won't even consider it," he said.

Monday, South Carolina Department of Transportation Traffic Engineer Mike Bethea announced the decision to put in a light in that area, saying a traffic light was probably the safest solution to avoid future wrecks and taking into consideration the high volume of traffic.

Bethea said they were concerned about the new light's close proximity to an already existing light, which is only about 850 feet away but crews will work to synchronize them once the new one is built to minimize the disruptions of traffic.

According to the developer, SCDOT will pay for half the signal and Lowes Foods and HR Developers LLC will pay for the other half. The light is expected to cost between $75,000 and $80,000.

Crawford and her son say it's about time. "It makes me happy to think that no one else is going to have to go through that now and it's not going to ever happen again and we can feel a lot more safe," Justin Crawford said.

Bethea said the next step will be to find out what underground utilities are in the area before doing the foundations for the signal poles.

He explained that high traffic volume in the area and the wrecks were the two biggest factors in the decision.

"When it's the highest volume and you have some accidents there you know we felt like even though it was 850 feet from the existing signal, you know, it was safest to put the signal at that intersection," he said.

WPDE has been following this story since June when residents first began to voice their concerns.

One of the most recent wrecks, on July 7th, at that intersection sent four people to the hospital.