City of Conway officials received a briefing from SCDOT officials yesterday about the barriers at the US 378/US 501 intersection in Conway.
SCDOT officials said the Waccamaw River is expected to crest approximately three feet higher than it did from Hurricane Matthew two years ago.
Without the barriers, SCDOT models projected US 501 would be under three feet of water when the river crests.
SCDOT is placing the barriers in an attempt to maintain a one lane each way lifeline for supplies to Myrtle Beach along US 501. US 378 will be the lifeline into the county and US 501 the lifeline east of Conway to the beach areas. All other access roads into the county are expected to be closed due to flooding, according to the SCDOT models.
Officials said there may be more flooding of homes than has been seen in past storms because of the historic levels the river will reach. However, no homes were being intentionally sacrificed in order to divert floodwaters.
During the half hour video I watched, no mention was made of the coal ash ponds near the former Grainger Generating Station. However, the letter from Gov. Henry McMaster demonstrates there is also concern of that issue.
GSD received information from a former Santee Cooper official who was present during the meetings of county and city officials during the 1999 Hurricane Floyd flooding. According to the official, sacrificing US 501 by dynamiting the road to create a trench through which floodwaters could flow in order to reduce flooding into Conway and the Grainger plant was discussed. That move never became reality during the flooding from Hurricane Floyd.
Conway officials mentioned they had been left out of the loop of initial planning discussions for the barriers. SCDOT officials and Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus promised better communications with city officials.