Georgia Department of Transportation begins work on Highway 80 - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Georgia Department of Transportation begins work on Highway 80

(Source: WTOC/file) (Source: WTOC/file)
TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) -

For the next two weeks, Georgia Department of Transportation will be making safety improvements along Highway 80.

The improvements are being made in the stretch going on and off Tybee Island. This comes after years of lobbying for change by local leaders.

Many people told us the safety improvements coming are long overdue but they are welcoming any effort by the state to help keep drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians safer on Tybee Road.

A lot of people welcome this sight. Contractors with Georgia Department of Transportation near the Bull River Bridge.

"I have to say that I have been very surprised at the progress of the work and very surprised at how they are staging the work," said Mary Dalhin, Tybee Island Resident.

Mary Dalhin lives on Tybee and travels back and forth on Highway 80 almost every day. She knows about the work that's been done so far, restriping and most recently a left turn lane added to get to Fort Pulaski.

And there is more to come, the restriping of the Bull River Bridge providing four feet of separation between opposite lanes of traffic. Georgia Department of Transportation has also decided new signs are needed, adding a narrow bridge sign and then 45 mph signs at both the Lazaretto and Bull River Bridges.

"It is going to be awhile before the bridges are replaced but I am happy the DOT has taken our concerns under-advisement," said Mayor Jason Buelterman, City of Tybee Island.

Mayor Jason Buelterman continues to stress the issue of public safety after wrecks have blocked access on and off the island.

"Ultimately it would be a lot nicer to see the long term project done a lot sooner but we are told a lot of it has to do with federal permitting, so we go to Washington and ask them and they point to the state to get rid of some of those permitting requirements and they will point to the state and say the state needs to press harder," said Mayor Buelterman.

Work to replace the bridges and create emergency lanes may not happen until 2019.

"I think there is a lot of accidents and delays that have to do with the fact that we are just operating with 2 lanes," said Dallhin.

The Mayor wrote a letter to Georgia's Governor Nathan Deal on how a four-lane solution would be best, the sooner the better is his mind. He received a response from the Governor's office, but not the Governor himself.

"We continue to publicly state our case that we need improvements out there for the long term and the short term and hope the DOT will continue to listen," said Mayor Buelterman.

You will see Georgia Department of Transportation crews working on Tybee Road for the next two weeks. You are asked to slow down when ever you see crews and if you are driving behind one please do not attempt to pass them.

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