Pair of holiday weekend crashes reignite Tybee mayor’s push to improve Highway 80

Courtesy: Beth Rice

CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga (WSAV) – Holiday traffic came to a stand still twice this weekend on the Bull River bridge. For years Tybee Island leaders have asked for changes to Highway 80 out to the island.

“That makes things very, very frustrating on our end,” says Tybee Mayor Jason Buelterman.

The state DOT has not addressed widening this road since 2015.The pace it has gone since then has not been satisfactory for Mayor Buelterman.

“On any busy from April through August we experience situations out on that stretch of road and the most frustrating thing is that it’s completely out of our control.”

This is actually the fifth year in a row a crash has happened on the bridge during the early summer season. Since 2012, nearly ten crashes have happened here at the start of summer alone.

“I mean it’s a broken record, we’ve been abdicating for this for a long time, I think we are further along now than we have ever been in terms of developing a long-term solution,” says the mayor.

Solutions are coming, GDOT has a project to widen the bridges.

“What justifies fast tracking this is had there been a need to get an ambulance on or off the island when there were two accidents on the Bull River Bridge, completely shut down access to the island, it would have been very difficult to get an ambulance out here or off of the island,” Buelterman adds.

The mayor says DOT has no public meeting set until next year. Until then he will continue to ask for more control over the road to keep summer standstills at a minimum.

“I’ll tell you all we can do is push,” says the mayor.

The DOT does report there should be a public meeting sometime this summer.

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