TYBEE ISLAND, GA – Tybee Island leaders and neighbors are reacting following a state transportation meeting on improvements to US highway 80.
The roadway has seen several accidents, some fatal, and coastal flooding that has left people
stranded on the island.
While neighbors and leaders are glad to have something in front of them, after taking a closer look at the plans, many are not sure it’s the right fix.
“If you’re going to spend this much money on our roads and bridges, help us do something to relieve our traffic congestion,” says Tybee resident Charles Burel.
US Highway 80 to Tybee marks a nearly ten mile stretch of road owned by the state, Chatham county and the federal government that the city of tybee island and its occupants rely on.
“It’s the only road on and off of tybee so it is the only lifeline that we have,” says Burel.
Tybee leaders and neighbors had a first look at the potentially $100 million improvement plan for us highway 80 Tuesday evening. The plan looks to alter both bridges and the roadway.
“This is a part of our environmental document in coming to the public and getting their comments and their input because it does have a, it does help with the outcome we want to know what they think,” says GDOT spokesperson Jill Nagel.
Adding more than 20 feet to bridges and transferring passing lanes possibly to make roadway shoulders, however Tybee leaders think only solves part of the problem.
“The fact that we’re here I think means we’re a lot further than we’ve ever been on this project but that doesn’t mean that this is what should ultimately happen, they’re should be a wider causeway and wider bridges,” syas Tybee Island Mayor Jason Beulterman.
DOT officials brought two plans for bridge work to either be on the north or south sides of the the Bull River and Lazaretto Creek structures. Neighbors showed positive interest in what GDOT brought to the table, but remain weary if what they saw is the best state and federal funding can provide to a stretch of road linking to one of Georgia’s growing tourist destinations.
“Some folks feel if you widen the roads it will make it easier for folks to get to tybee, that more people will come, having lived here for the last ten years, they are already coming and i don’t see it getting any better,” says Burel.
Developers tell me if all goes as planned, the DOT would process the public comments by December.
It’s still up in the air whether they will actually raise the road itself. Developers say they’ll make that decision once a study on water levels is complete.
If you would like to view more information directly on the project the Georgia DOT has a project page made to review this plan.