General McIntosh Blvd. Reopens

A big inconvenience for people driving in downtown Savannah is no more. Today the city officially reopened General McIntosh Blvd., which connects Bay Street to President Street Extension.

That area has been a seven-month nightmare for a lot of people. It was closed because crews from Atlanta Gas Light have been cleaning up the Trustees Garden area, removing contaminated soil and other material. But now it's open and better than ever.

It didn't take drivers long to travel the reopened route. "It's been a nightmare you know, having to go through town every time instead of being able to cut down Bay Street," said driver Billy Harrell.

"I think it's fantastic, I think the masonry work on the fort looks fantastic," said Kevin Iocovozzi. "Good to have it open, my compliments to the city administrator who got it done."

The project actually began three years ago, but was put on hold when a building that was being moved collapsed. During the past seven months, crews have repaired the brick wall, removed contaminated soil, improved crosswalks and widened the road from two lanes to four.

Several business were effected by the construction. The Mulberry Inn had problems with too much traffic coming too close to the hotel and disturbing guests. So every night for the past few months, they had to put barrels in the road to keep traffic from coming too close to the building.

And the Marriott Riverfront had problems of its own. "We had to have extra work done, putting up detour signs, and we also contacted our guests in advance to warn them there would be a detour as they came in," said the hotel's Jody McIntyre.

Now those problems are in the past. The crews from Atlanta Gas Light will still be working in the area for about the next nine months. They are still working on River Street, the eastern entrance of which is still closed, and some final cleanup at Trustees Garden. It shouldn't impact traffic too much.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com