Mayor of Tybee Island discusses funding for Hwy 80 improvement projects

Mayor of Tybee Island discusses funding for Hwy 80 improvement projects

TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) - Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman met with state leaders Tuesday, including Governor Deal, to talk about funding for Highway 80's improvement projects.

Mayor Buelterman said that one of the biggest issues is the authorization for the project at a federal level. Buelterman and state transportation officials are establishing a proposal to move forward and set pressure on the federal government to gather research and information on what they need for Hwy. 80.

Improvement projects such as elevating the roadway and putting medians on bridges are projected to cost over $100 million.

Mayor Buelterman said that one of the reasons him and council member, Wanda Doyle, went to Atlanta on Tuesday was to grasp the governor's attention about the funding.

"We had a very receptive audience. And everybody's in agreement that the project needs to move forward expeditiously. But there's issues and delays with getting permits from the federal government. So it's really a frustration for all of us," the mayor said.

Another issue is getting past the permitting process, which is tricky with the marshland all around, the surrounding federal property and the bridges. But the mayor says this is something they will stay on top of, and they will continue to put pressure on state and federal agencies to get something done.

"Wanda brought up the issue of better signage, they said that is one thing they will definitely follow up on. And, consider incorporating a median into the bridges at least, when the project is designed, that they incorporate that," Mayor Buelterman said.

"It needs widening. We have a great tourist crowd that comes down here, we handle more vehicles than the road can handle. And it makes a dangerous situation," said Paul Birge, who wants a four-lane road to Tybee.

The mayor says people can also get involved by writing their state and federal representatives to try to get some results as well.

"More people advocating for this the better. I think most people apart of the state recognize this as being a top priority. It needs to move forward quickly and it needs to be funded," the mayor said.

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