Robert Edge Parkway
|Robert Edge Parkway|
|Main Street Connector
North Myrtle Beach Connector
|Length:||6 mi (10 km)|
|Existed:||2009 – present|
|West end:||SC 90 near Wampee|
|SC 31 near Wampee|
|East end:||US 17 / Main Street in N. Myrtle Beach|
Robert Edge Parkway is a connection highway in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It begins at S.C. 90, connects to (S.C. 31/Future I-74), crosses the Intracoastal Waterway, and terminates at the intersection U.S. 17 and Main Street. The project consisted of upgrading Firetower Road, adding new interchanges for S.C. 31, expanding Main Street in North Myrtle Beach to accommodate the increase in traffic, and a 1,000-foot bridge (300 m) over the Intracoastal Waterway which includes a 10-foot-wide path (3.0 m) for walkers and bicycles. Formerly known as the Main Street Connector, the road has been named for Robert Edge Sr., the first mayor of North Myrtle Beach starting in 1968. For twelve years before that, Edge was the mayor of Crescent Beach, one of the four towns which, through Edge's efforts, became North Myrtle Beach. The road opened September 3, 2009.
The 1995 Comprehensive Plan of the City of North Myrtle Beach included a second access to the planned road that became known as Carolina Bays Parkway.
In February 2001, Horry County officials voted to ask the State Infrastructure Bank for $173 million for Carolina Bays Parkway, a connector from the parkway to North Myrtle Beach, and a bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway at Fantasy Harbour.
The Infrastructure Bank chose not to provide money for the projects at that time, but did approve $135 million in December 2001.
Also in 2002, Horry County representatives in the South Carolina State House introduced a resolution to designate South Carolina Highway 22 as Interstate 73, South Carolina Highway 31 as Interstate 74, and the North Myrtle Beach Connector as Interstate 174. However, at that time officials in Wilmington, North Carolina believed I-74 would end there, meaning I-174 could not be in North Myrtle Beach.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation scheduled a public hearing for May 1, 2003. At its public hearings, the SCDOT used MicroStation V8 software to illustrate the project using "virtual tours". MicroStation developers Bentley Systems presented the SCDOT with one of its 2005 BE Awards of Excellence for its visualization.
United States Senate Bill S.0291 asked for "appropriate federal and state officials to designate" the same three roads as interstate highways. Due to differences in House Bill H.3462, the bills did not pass.
Construction was to start anyway in 2005.
On June 16, 2005, the state Department of Transportation Commission approved allowing the Infrastructure Bank to issue $119 million in bonds. $25 million of the money raised would go toward the "North Myrtle Beach Connector".
On October 10, 2006, the Infrastructure Bank approved a grant of more than $32 million after state Department of Transportation director Betty Mabry said the project could not continue without the money. The primary cause of the increased cost was acquiring right of way in areas where land prices were increasing significantly.
City officials hoped the new road would lead to increased development, but most importantly, it provided a hurricane evacuation route. Advertisements would mention the new road as a way to get to North Myrtle Beach more quickly.
State Rep. Tracy Edge, the youngest son of the former mayor for whom the road is named, said the road cost $85 million, about $15 million more than planned, with the increase resulting mainly from higher material costs.
The parkway opened September 3, 2009, with about 300 attending a ceremony on the bridge. Among the participants were Tracy Edge and other family members, as well as county, state and city officials. The road required "nearly 200 workers, 2 million pounds of steel in the bridge, 8,000 linear feet of concrete beams supporting the bridge, concrete equivalent to 570 dump trucks loads, and nearly five years to complete."
On September 8, 2010, a ceremony was held to name the Intracoastal Waterway bridge for J. Bryan Floyd, who defeated the elder Edge to serve as mayor from 1974 to 1980.
State Sen. Dick Elliott, the state legislator who has held office the longest, wanted the bridge named for Floyd when the highway was opened, and he co-sponsored legislation in January 2008 to name the bridge. The measure did not pass the state house at that time.
The entire route is in Horry County.
|0.00||0.00||SC 90 – Wampee, Conway||Western Terminus|
|1.47||2.37||SC 31 – Myrtle Beach, Little River||Diamond Interchange|
|2.53||4.07||Old Sanders Drive|
|5.49||8.84||Bridge across the Intracoastal Waterway|
|North Myrtle Beach||6.00||9.66||US 17 / Main Street – Myrtle Beach, Little River||Eastern Terminus|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- Hulen, Jim (June 24, 2008). "Main Street Connector Bridge Has Economic Impact Even Before It Opens". North Myrtle Beach News. Retrieved July 7, 2009.
- Wren, David (12 September 2010). "Bridge revives old North Myrtle Beach rivalries". The Sun News. Archived from the original on September 18, 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
- Frost, Janelle (September 4, 2009). "North Myrtle Beach connector now open". The Sun News. Retrieved September 4, 2009.[dead link]
- Steve Jones, "Horry County, S.C., Attempts to Secure Loan to Extend Bay Parkway," The Sun News, February 22, 2001.
- Natalie Burrowes Pruitt, "Horry County, S.C., to Receive Money for Major Construction Projects," The Sun News, February 26, 2002.
- Kevin Wiatrowski, "South Carolina Agency Approves $63 Million for Horry County Road Projects," The Sun News, October 16, 2002.
- "I-174 (proposed)". Retrieved 2010-03-30.
- "Public Meeting Thursday, May 1 in Horry County To Discuss North Myrtle Beach Connector". SCDOT. Retrieved July 7, 2009.
- "SCDOT Computer Model Earns International Honor". constructionequipmentguide.com. Retrieved July 7, 2009.
- "Interstate 174 South Carolina". Retrieved 2010-03-30.
- Zane Wilson, "Plan Boosts Funds for Myrtle Beach, S.C.-area Roads," The Sun News, June 17, 2005.
- Zane Wilson, "Grant Will Cover New Roads' Cost: S.C. Bank Steps in As Projects Miss Budget," The Sun News, October 1, 2006.
- Frost, Janelle (April 3, 2009). "Main Street Connector Expected to Boost North Myrtle Beach Development". The Sun News. Retrieved July 7, 2009.