Residents concerned about Project Derenne - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Residents concerned about Project Derenne

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Savannah City Council members met Thursday to discuss the progress of Project Derenne.

Some changes were made to the plans that will reroute traffic going south from I-516 to White Bluff Road. Now some residents on Hampstead Road have concerns.

This project has been in the works since 2006 and the hope is that the additional lanes will help take some of that traffic off Derenne.

The original plan was to expand Hampstead Avenue into four lanes, eliminating homes on the north side of the street. Residents were told by the city that there was a possibility their homes would be bought but now the plan has changed.

"The plans moved from taking out this side to the opposite side of the street," said resident Edward Smith.  

Smith says he had planned to move when he first learned about Project Derenne and that the city would potentially buy his property.

"We were promised that they would buy us out on this side," said Smith.  

As the city made progress on the project, they discovered this neighborhood has historic value and cannot be demolished as part of guidelines when using federal and state funding for Project Derenne.

It's not just homeowners who are unhappy about the changes, but city councilors themselves are concerned that they have to change their plans.

"The dilemma we are in right now is that the residents were told that we would buy the houses," said Mayor Edna Jackson.  

Now the proposed plans will have the new four lane road running right beyond the property lines. Some neighbors say they'll need to move anyway.

"Because with all the traffic and everything that will be coming in this direction, it will put a damper on just me coming home," said Smith.

The City Council has already met with residents in the area but will be holding a public forum in February. The date and time are TBD.  

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