Robert Grissom Parkway
|Robert M. Grissom Parkway|
|Robert Grissom Parkway
|Maintained by SCDOT|
|Length:||7.0 mi (11.3 km)|
|Existed:||2002 – present|
|Northeast end:||SC 31 / International Dr.|
| US 17
|Southwest end:||Harrelson Boulevard|
Robert M. Grissom Parkway, locally known as Grissom Parkway, is a major four-lane connector highway in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The road begins at Harrelson Boulevard near Myrtle Beach International Airport and terminates in Carolina Forest, South Carolina at SC Highway 31 and International Drive. It provides access to Myrtle Beach attractions such as Coastal Grand Mall, BB&T Coastal Field and Broadway at the Beach and is used as an alternative road to U.S. 17 and Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach. It has bike paths and sidewalks for pedestrian traffic.
When the road was completed, it replaced Old Socastee Highway (former routing of South Carolina Highway 707) between Pine Island Road and U.S. 501 as well as Central Parkway at Broadway at the Beach between 21st Avenue North and 29th Avenue North.
Robert Grissom Parkway is based on a road planned as early as 1979.
In 1996, sections of Central Parkway, a road planned by Burroughs & Chapin, were already complete between 21st Avenue North and 38th Avenue North, and between 44th Avenue North and 48th Avenue North. Taken over as of 1996 by the city, the road could be extended to U.S. 501 in five or six years using property taxes and admissions taxes at Broadway at the Beach attractions, plus a possible hospitality tax on hotel rooms, meals and admissions. Eventually, Central Parkway would be extended south to a planned airport road (later named Harrelson Boulevard) and north to 62nd Avenue North.
In 1998, a $2.66 million section of Central Parkway, four lanes with a median between 10th Avenue North and 21st Avenue North, was under construction as a RIDE project. In five years, the road was expected to run from Harrelson Boulevard across U.S. 501 and U.S. 17 Bypass to 62nd Avenue North, which would connect to Carolina Bays Parkway. By February 1999, plans called for Central Parkway to connect directly to Carolina Bays Parkway rather than to an extended 62nd Avenue North.
Robert "Bob" Grissom served as Myrtle Beach mayor 12 years, longer than any other mayor, and on the city council for 13 years. He led the effort to return minor league baseball to the city, but Coastal Federal Field (now BB&T Coastal Field) was not named for him. With the section of Central Parkway leading to the stadium opening in April 1999, the city made the decision to honor the late mayor by naming it Robert M. Grissom Parkway. The name change took effect immediately between 10th Avenue North and 29th Avenue North, with other sections to be renamed in stages.
Additional work on Grissom Parkway began in March 2001, with three sections of the $30 million RIDE project to be finished over the next year. Included in the project was the widening of an existing section of Old Socastee Highway. The concrete plant owned by Grissom fell victim to the road named for him.
On April 5, 2002, the section between Harrelson Boulevard and U.S. 501 opened. On May 6, the section between U.S. 501 and Mr. Joe White Avenue (formerly 10th Avenue North) opened. This was followed on July 1 by the section between 38th and 48th Avenues North. North of 48th Avenue, work had begun on the connection to Carolina Bays Parkway. With the opening of Carolina Bays Parkway on December 17, 2002, Grissom Parkway was complete all the way from that new road to the airport, with "tree-lined medians, trees planted on the shoulders of the road, bike paths and pedestrian sidewalks."
In July 2003, a $2.6 million upgrade to the Carolina Bays Parkway interchange began, providing additional access to Carolina Forest. An unpaved road called International Drive connected to S.C. 90, but provided no access to other main roads. A year later, the road still had not been paved, and there were no plans to do so. Grissom Parkway had become very popular with tourists, people living in the area, and businesses looking for a good location. However, the city did not intend the road to provide easy access to business, and policies assured this would continue to be the case.
Since 2006, the intersection with 21st Avenue N. has been the start line for the annual Bi-Lo Marathon, and since 2011 the section from US 17 Bypass to BB&T Coastal Field (with the exception of two short turnaround points) has been used for the final five miles.
The entire route is in Horry County.
|Myrtle Beach||0.0||0.0||MYR / Harrelson Boulevard||Southern terminus|
|1.0||1.6||Pine Island Road|
|1.5||2.4||US 501 – Downtown Myrtle Beach, Conway|
|2.3||3.7||Mr. Joe White Avenue|
|3.0||4.8||21st Avenue North|
|3.6||5.8||29th Avenue North|
|4.3||6.9||38th Avenue North|
|5.0||8.0||48th Avenue North|
|5.8||9.3||US 17 – North Myrtle Beach, Georgetown||Full Interchange|
|6.5||10.5||Bridge across the Intracoastal Waterway|
|6.9||11.1||SC 31 – North Myrtle Beach, Georgetown|
|7.0||11.3||International Drive||Northern terminus|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- "Building on Grissom's Success," The Sun News, September 29, 2004, p. A10.
- Kent Bernhard Jr., "Landowners Discuss Plan for Roads: Horry County Council Works to Coordinate Possible Solutions," The Sun News, May 22, 1996, p. 1A.
- Mike Soraghan, "Beasley's Road Task Force to Review Panel's 'Plan B'," The Sun News, June 5, 1996, p. 1A.
- Mike Soraghan, "Parkway Plans Require Land Buy," The Sun News, July 17, 1996, p. 1C.
- Charbonee La Belle, "Work on Parkway Motoring Along," The Sun News, December 3, 1998.
- Katie Merx, "Experts to Decide Details on Interchange; Impact on Wetlands the Main Concern," The Sun News, January 13, 1998, p. 1C.
- Katie Merx, "MB, Horry Panels Work on B&C Plan," The Sun News, February 2, 1998, p. 1C.
- Craig S. Lovelace, "Parkway Plan Irks IP, Horry Council," The Sun News, February 3, 1999, p. C1.
- Charbonee La Belle, "Grissom Parkway Hearings Set," The Sun News, April 1, 1999, p. A6.
- Charbonee La Belle, "Commission OKs Robert Grissom Parkway; Road Renamed for Late MB Mayor," The Sun News, April 7, 1999, p. C2.
- Kevin Wiatrowski, "Latest Road Project to Extend Grissom Parkway," The Sun News, March 2, 2001, p. C1.
- Kevin Wiatrowski, "Highway Projects Hit Peak Season," The Sun News, April 3, 2001, p. A1.
- David Klepper, "Confusion Hits Locals, Vacationers, The Sun News, April 9, 2002, p. A1.
- Kevin Wiatrowski, "Grissom Segment Finished," The Sun News, May 7, 2002, p. C1.
- David Klepper, "Parkway Stretch Open in Time for Holiday," The Sun News, July 2, 2002. p. A1.
- "The Drive Behind New Highways," The Sun News, December 18, 2002, p. A10.
- Kevin Wiatrowski, "Interchange Plan Gets Go-Ahead," The Sun News, August 9, 2003, p. A1.
- Emma Ritch, "Success Leads City to Ponder Other Roads," The Sun News, September 27, 2004, p. A1.
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