Traffic preparations underway for bike fest weekend
North Myrtle Beach, S.C. (WPDE) —
The month of May is bike season for Myrtle Beach, with hundreds of thousands of bikers expected to roll in for Memorial Day weekend.
On Tuesday, both the city of North Myrtle Beach and the Myrtle Beach Police Department shared their plans to manage the flow of traffic during the bike fest weekend.
"Our total focus for Memorial Day weekend is keeping traffic moving," said North Myrtle Beach Spokesman Pat Dowling.
Officials said more than 100,000 people are expected in North Myrtle Beach, and they want to do whatever it takes not only to ensure the flow of traffic but also to ensure the safety of everyone in town during Memorial Day weekend.
"We bring in officers from other towns and cities in South Carolina and they come and help us because it's a 24/7 shift," said Dowling.
The City of Myrtle Beach is still waiting for a federal judge to decide if they can enforce their planned 23-mile traffic loop. North Myrtle Beach leaders said they're prepared to deal with any extra traffic the loop could cause.
"We've been reading the news and the possibilities. We're prepared that if the loop is banished, or you know, the injunction succeeds, that we'll have to deal with whatever traffic comes our way," said Dowling.
The City of Myrtle Beach first put the loop in place for the 2015 bike fest, but this year they've added a few changes.
"We've made some changes in hopes of enhancing our operational plans such as the message boards along King's Highway to give motorists additional information about the access roads and how they can get on and off Ocean Boulevard," said Myrtle Beach Police Spokesman, Captain Joey Crosby.
The NAACP challenged the loop and referred to it as discriminatory to the largely African American crowd that attends the bike fest.
Crosby said, its just another tool to manage the big crowd.
"This is an extension of what we do year round. If you go down to Ocean Boulevard any time of the year, not just Memorial Day, you will see an officer that is telling someone, 'You've got to keep moving,' whether it's on the roadway or on the sidewalk," said Crosby.