Construction begins for Hwy. 80 facelift to Tybee - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Construction begins for Hwy. 80 facelift to Tybee

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Several Savannah-area road projects will be tying up traffic to and from the islands this month, and it all starts Tuesday night.

It is all due to a Georgia Department of Transportation project to resurface portions of Highway 80 from Whitemarsh Island heading out towards Tybee Island.

The month-long project stretches from the Grays Creek Bridge to the Bull River Bridge and will close lanes on Hwy. 80 weeknights from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m.

"There's a lot of variables that are put into the decision if the work will be done at night or during the day," GDOT District Communications Officer Jill Nagel said.

The idea behind nighttime projects like this is to avoid peak rush hour times, but that convenience comes at a price. GDOT has to pay contractors surcharges for overnight jobs, which means it costs taxpayers a little more of their taxpayer dollars.

“Operating the plant at night, there's going to be extra charges for that. Hauling the material at night, there's going to be extra charges for that. Lighting equipment, so, it does cost more in the end, but we're trying to alleviate any impact to the traveling public," Nagel said.

But that's not the only project affecting traffic to the islands this month. Tuesday, Chatham County crews began work on the Causton Bluff Bridge due to movement in its frame. That project is set to last the entire month of June as well.

"If you're riding on the shoulder, it's just not a safe or welcoming place to be," John Bennett of the Savannah Bicycle Campaign said.

Bennett said the best way to travel from Savannah to Tybee Island by bike is with a police escort. That's why he's excited the McQueen's Island trail that runs parallel to Highway 80 is back open this week after months of repairs as well.

"We're seeing trails built all around the state, and we've been kind of stuck in neutral for a while. It's public safety, it is public health, it is economic. There are a lot of things that this type of facility solves. And if we want to bring people to our community to live here, to start businesses, to grow their families here, these are the type of facilities they expect to see," Bennett said.

The trail and these other projects are important, but they pale in comparison to the larger Hwy. 80 infrastructure concerns.

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