How NMB hopes to ease traffic during Atlantic Beach Bikefest

Thousands of people will soon flood the Grand Strand for the Atlantic Beach Bikefest that officially starts Friday afternoon.

Traffic has always been a problem on Highway 17 during Bikefest, and again this year, a chute system will be set up to manage the flow of traffic into Atlantic Beach.

Atlantic Beach is a small town, about four blocks wide, and getting thousands of bikers in and out means major traffic headaches on Highway 17 Bypass.

If you're headed north on 17 Bypass near Atlantic Beach, starting at 37th Avenue South, the far right lane will be the designated lane to get into the festival.

"Once you enter that lane, it's barricaded from that lane to the other lanes, so once you're in it, you're in it; and that lane will take you right into the festival," said North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety Captain Mike Baldasarre.

Signs will be put up to alert bikers and drivers.

If you don't want to go into Atlantic Beach, avoid the chute. Gill Dudrow said he accidentally got caught in it one year.

"The first year they did that, I did. I didn't realize what it. Since then, I know to watch out for the chute lane and stay away from it," said Dudrow.

North Myrtle Beach sets up the chute because their city is impacted by the traffic. City spokesman Pat Dowling says it prevents accidents and eases congestion.

"Keep crowds moving, keep traffic moving, and then everybody gets to where they want to be and you don't have any frustration," said Dowling.

In order to make sure southbound traffic around Atlantic Beach runs smoothly, no left turns will be allowed into Atlantic Beach. The only way to get into the festival is through the chute in the northbound lane.