Horseshoe area of North Myrtle Beach closed for six months

Starting Monday, September 23, a project to improve the water quality in North Myrtle Beach will close down the horseshoe area right off of Main Street in the city until early May 2014.

This is the city's 5th storm water ocean outfall project to reduce the amount of bacteria in swimming areas of the ocean.

There will be no parking within the horseshoe, but the two sidewalks bordering the horseshoe will remain open for pedestrian-only access to the ocean when construction is not occuring on the beach.

Construction on the beach won't actually begin until October 1st.

"Instead of letting the water go through the pipes that are currently on the beach into the swim zone, we take the storm water, root it through one major pipe that's underground and goes offshore into the ocean about a quarter of a mile, and then releases the storm water there," said North Myrtle Beach City spokesperson Pat Dowling.

Dowling says the city has been working on improving water quality since the early 1990s, and that this project will generally make water safer for swimmers after major rain events.

"These drainage basins, which we call regional drainage basins, reach inland as well. So we solve some inland storm water flooding problems, we solve some localized oceanfront flooding problems, and we do it by moving it all through one pipe well beyond the swimming zone," Dowling said.

He added that the project may inconvenience some people over the winter months, but the end result will be worth it.

As of now, the city has removed 16 pipes from the beach. This project will remove another 3 pipes, and then there will be 26 more to go.

The project is expected to cost around $9.5 million dollars and is funded by the storm water fee North Myrtle Beach residents pay.