Initial Hwy 80 improvement plan presented by Georgia Department of Transportation

TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) - It's one of the deadliest roads in our area, but now officials are looking for your input to help make it safer.

The stretch of Highway 80 going out to Tybee Island has been plagued by fatal accidents and coastal flooding for years.

Tuesday the Georgia Department of Transportation presented its initial proposal to improve the road at a public meeting on the island. In a nutshell, their plan is to keep Highway 80 a two-lane road but to expand it by adding wider shoulders.

Right now Highway 80 is about 30 feet wide. GDOT's proposal is to expand it by about 20 feet and add 10-foot shoulders, and they say that would make the road much safer.

"The shoulders will allow room for somebody to get out of the road, would allow room for somebody to dodge a car stopping in front of them They can go to the shoulder. Where if they go to the shoulder now, in the existing conditions, they're in the marsh," said GDOT Project Manager David Moyer.

That extra room could also be used by bike riders and would allow emergency vehicles to get through when there's an accident. Some areas of the road, including the bridges would also include a multi-purpose trail for pedestrians or bikes.

"It would be safe enough that you could take your kids with you and ride to the trial, without worrying about getting hit by a car," said Moyer.

Both the Lazaretto Creek and Bull River bridges would be completely replaced under their plan. But this is just the first phase of the proposal. There's still a long road ahead before we reach a final product, especially considering environmental limitations.

"And what we're trying to do is minimize the impact to as many of those resources as we can, but also making this improvement to the roadway," said Lead Design Engineer Brian O'Connor.

Those who attended tonight gave mixed feedback. Some are happy to see progress, others would rather see a four-lane highway.

"The Tybee Road is a death trap," said Tommy Solomon, Tybee resident.

Solomon doesn't think the road will be safe until there's a concrete median between the lanes. He was in a head-on collision on Highway 80 decades ago, and his life has not been the same since.

"It killed my dog, I broke my back in three places, lost my spleen. I'm standing here 48 years later with a bag on my stomach because of the lesions that I received when they took my spleen out. I've been struggling for a year getting ready to have another operation, and it all stems back to the Tybee Road, the Tybee Road that's not divided," said Solomon.

As far as the flooding issue, GDOT officials said that will be looked in the next phase of the proposal. They plan to elevate the road to help with that.

The estimated cost of the project is $100 million.

If you didn't make it out Tuesday, you can still view the plans and submit feedback online, click here.

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