Skip Navigation

The project logo Carolina-Bays-Parkway - 2020

The project logo Carolina-Bays-Parkway - 2020

The N.C. Department of Transportation and the S.C. Department of Transportation plan to extend Carolina Bays Parkway (S.C. 31) from S.C. 9 in Horry County, S.C., across the North Carolina state line to U.S. 17 in Brunswick County. The project is expected to involve the construction of a multi-lane expressway and may involve both existing roadways and areas on new location.

SCDOT State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) Project P029554 would extend Carolina Bays Parkway from its current terminus at S.C. 9 in Horry County to the North Carolina state line. NCDOT STIP Project R-5876 would extend Carolina Bays Parkway from the state line to U.S. 17 Shallotte Bypass in Brunswick County. Carolina Bays Parkway Extension is anticipated to involve the construction of a multilane, full control of access freeway, with part on new location. Full control of access means that access to Carolina Bays Parkway will only be provided via ramps and interchanges.  Bridges will be installed at some cross streets and no driveway connections will be allowed.



The primary purpose of the project is to improve the transportation network in the study area by enhancing mobility and connectivity for traffic moving in and through the project area.

  • Mobility refers to the movement of people or goods. Potential measures of performance for evaluating an improvement in mobility in the project area are travel time, travel speed and level of service (LOS). SCDOT has established the LOS goal of C for their state roads while NCDOT has established the target goal of LOS D for system level planning analysis.
  • Connectivity refers to the density of connections in road networks and the directness of links. Potential measures of performance for evaluating improvements in connectivity are reduced travel times and enhanced route options for travelers, service providers, and the transport of goods.

Many intersections and roadway segments in the study area are expected to either approach or exceed the roadway capacity limits in 2045. The population within Horry and Brunswick counties has steadily increased, and is expected to continue to increase, along with the number of tourists to the area. Growth in population, tourism, and supporting services has resulted in an increase in mixed-purpose traffic on area roads.

  • The proposed project will improve mobility on existing roadways, benefiting both local and through traffic. This project will provide a more direct route for tourist and coastal truck traffic travelling through the area. As a result, existing transportation routes would be able to convey shorter local trips more efficiently. The proposed project will also provide additional capacity, improving level of service and mobility, on area roadways.
  • Potential additional benefits of the proposed project may include:

  • The proposed project offers the potential to reduce the number and severity of vehicle crashes by providing an alternate route to travelers. Separating through traffic from the local traffic that is using the existing roadways to access schools, shopping and services, and residential areas will likely enhance safety. 
  • By providing additional capacity and improving mobility in the project area, the proposed project offers the potential to support more efficient clearance times during emergency evacuations.



The Carolina Bays Parkway Extension project area is largely comprised of unincorporated areas in Horry and Brunswick counties, but also includes portions of some coastal towns and communities located on the inland side of the Intracoastal Waterway.

A study area is a geographical area in which information on human and natural environmental features are gathered during the preliminary planning phase. The Carolina Bays Parkway Extension study area boundary was established with consideration given to the ability to develop a full range of alternatives while also minimizing potential impacts to important environmental features. The project study area is approximately 19 miles long, with approximately five miles located in South Carolina and 14 miles located in North Carolina. With the selection of Detailed Study Alternatives , more comprehensive field studies are now underway within these alternatives’ 1,000-foot corridors.

The existing primary road network includes U.S. 17 and various North Carolina and South Carolina state highway and secondary routes. There are no interstate facilities in the project area and access along existing routes is largely uncontrolled. Outlined in red in the map below, the study area is much larger than the actual amount of land that would be directly impacted by the project and is subject to change as more information about the project is collected.



The project team, comprised of federal, state and local transportation, environmental resource and permitting agency representatives, met in the Spring of 2020 to evaluate the preliminary corridor concepts and discuss which corridors should be carried forward for more detailed study. Five of the nine preliminary corridor concepts, and two new alternatives based on public input, were identified for further study.  

These seven Detailed Study Alternatives are shown on the aerial photograph image below. The Detailed Study Alternatives may be viewed individually by clicking on the alternative map links below.

Each of the seven Detailed Study Alternatives begins at the existing Carolina Bays Parkway/S.C. 9 interchange in South Carolina and end at the U.S. 17 Shallotte Bypass in North Carolina. The location of the tie-in to existing U.S. 17 varies by alternative.

The Detailed Study Alternatives corridors shown are much wider than the area needed for a future road. The study corridors shown are generally 1,000 feet wide, but the recommended right-of-way width will be much narrower, in general approximately 400 feet. The 1,000-foot width of the study corridors was chosen to provide opportunities to further minimize impacts to homes, businesses, and natural resources as the project continues to develop.

By clicking on the icon () on the top of each map set below, you will have the option of turning on/off individual alternatives for ease of viewing. (Clicking on the icon a second time will minimize the selection screen) 







Browse the Detailed Study Alternatives on the map below and provide comments individually.

Below the main map is a slide bar - select the Alternative you wish to view on the list of Alternatives located just above the slide bar. The Alternative map and a comment box will appear below the slide bar.

Clicking on (x) in the top right corner of the alternative will return you to the map where you can select another corridor to view.


  Jurisdiction Estimated Cost*
  North Carolina  $ 367  million 
  South Carolina  $ 185  million 
  Total Cost  $ 552  million 

* Estimated costs subject to change


The SCDOT 2017-2022 State Transportation Improvement Program includes funding utilizing Horry County RIDE III Sales Tax Funding for the purchase of property for the extension of Carolina Bays Parkway from S.C. 9 to the North Carolina state line beginning in 2022.



The NCDOT 2019-2029 State Transportation Improvement Program includes funding for planning and environmental studies only. 

The project is currently not funded for right-of-way acquisition or construction.

For additional information on this project 

please visit the NCDOT website:

If you would like to be added to the project mailing/email list, please provide the following:


Although the N.C. Department of Transportation works to minimize the number of homes and businesses displaced by a road project, it is inevitable, in many cases, that a certain amount of private property is needed. The following information explains right-of-way acquisition and answers questions about the process.

Relocation Assistance Brochure                   Asistencia para Reubicación 

Right-of-Way Acquisition Process Brochure             Folleto del Proceso de Adquisición de Bienes Raíces      

Right-of-Way Frequently Asked Questions


Due to Covid 19, NCDOT is not conducting any in-person meetings.  Virtual meetings are being held for projects.  Please check back frequently as any Virtual Meetings will be scheduled and advertised on this site.

Carolina Bays Parkway Extension

Major Planning Steps and Milestones


Any state or federal agency proposing a project that uses public funds and may have a potential detrimental environmental effect must comply with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) or the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended.  Under SEPA/NEPA, agencies are required to evaluate the environmental impacts of their proposals. The evaluation generally follows a project development process that can be divided into the steps described below.  This project is currently on Step 6.

Public involvement is an important component of the planning process and opportunities, both formal and informal, will be provided throughout the process so citizens can stay informed and provide input. 

Post Public Meeting Summary

NCDOT and SCDOT conducted two open house public meetings for the Carolina Bays Parkway Extension project in December 2019. One meeting was held on December 3rd in Sunset Beach, N.C. and the second was held on December 4th in Little River, S.C. The informal public meetings gave the public the opportunity to view project information, ask questions, provide comments, and discuss various aspects of the project with the project team.

An online version of the meetings was hosted through, which gave users an opportunity to review the same information provided during the meeting, prioritize nine preliminary corridor concepts in order of preference, and leave comments. A total of 553 individuals signed-in to the North Carolina meeting, and 467 individuals signed-in to the South Carolina meeting. More than 1,800 comments were received, with approximately 77 percent submitted via the project’s public input website.

As shown in Exhibit 1, the most prevalent topics addressed in public comments include corridor concept preference, support for an alternate concept proposed by Sunset Beach, potential impacts, and alternative concepts.

Interested public were able to rank nine preliminary corridor concepts in order of preference through a poll on the project’s Public Input website. The results are shown in Exhibit 2. In addition, approximately 768 of the comments received related to a commenter’s preference on which corridor concepts to select or avoid. While each of the nine concepts received some level of support and opposition, most of the comments in this category were categorized as “Favor Concept 1 (Red)” or “Favor Concept 4 (Gold)”; more commenters expressed their support for these two concepts than all other concepts combined. An additional 590 comments were in support of an alignment proposed by the Town of Sunset Beach. The Sunset Beach proposal would extend Concept 1 inland and parallel to U.S. 17 from Pea Landing Road NW to U.S. 17 north of Shallotte.

Additional information on the public meetings and comments received are summarized in the post meeting memorandum.


Due to the Covid 19 Pandemic, most employees are teleworking.  At this time, the best method to submit questions or comments is via email: 

[email protected] or by calling 855-925-2801 and entering project code 7734 when prompted..   


Ms. Krista Kimmel, P.E.

Project Manager

N.C. Department of Transportation

5501 Barbados Boulevard

Castle Hayne, NC  28429

(910) 341-2000 


Ms. Leah Quattlebaum, P.E.

Pee Dee Regional Production Engineer

S.C. Department of Transportation

PO Box 191

Columbia, SC  29202

(803) 737-1751


Eric Midkiff, P.E.

Planning Manager

NV5 Engineers and Consultants

3300 Regency Parkway  Suite 100

Cary, NC  27518

(919) 858-1820