June 17, 2012 North Myrtle Beach SC – The thoroughfare was better known that we expected, having forgotten that it served the Barefoot community as their main route when the swing bridge was being repaired. The picture is of Watertower Road going south towards the Highway 31 interchange and the Parkway development.
Some history: Watertower Road served as a partial fire break in the April 2009 fire that destroyed over 75 homes and did $16 million dollars in damage. Looking closely at the picture you can still see the naked trunks of burn out standing trees. The fire burnt along highway 31 and followed Watertower Road north. High winds carried embers aloft and across Watertower Road and brought the inferno into the community. The wildfire made charcoal out of 15,000 acres and Officials called it the Highway 31 wildfire but the center of devastation was the Barefoot community and homes along Watertower Road.
At the time of the 2009 fire, Watertower Road was unpaved, limiting its use in emergencies and leaving the community dependent upon the mechanical health of the Barefoot swing bridge. The $1.6 million to pave Water Tower road came from the commitment the City of North Myrtle Beach had, as a part of the PUD for Parkway, to pave from Barefoot to the Water Tower interchange on HWY 31, funds from Horry County rural road paving projects and the County Transportation Committee, which allocates money from the gas tax. The paving was completed in January 2010 just eight months after the wildfire.
Mike Strader and Art Snyder correctly identified Watertower Road.