TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - Highway 80 has been a problem to those living on and visiting Tybee Island for some time now.
“I’ve lived here 11 years and this has always been a problem,” said Joey Goralczyk, a Tybee resident and owner of Breezy Riders Cabs.
There are two projects happening in that area: repaving highway 80 and adding height to stop flooding, and preparations for the bridges at Lazareto Creek and Bull River to be replaced.
Residents and local business owners have accepted highway 80 delays as part of living on an island.
Breezy Riders Cabs tell WTOC they’ve even had to go from three drivers to two because off-island runs have been limited by the road work.
“You either can not get on the island, or you can’t get off the island- if you think you’re going to make it to work when there’s an accident, you have no shot at all,” Goralczyk added.
Tuesday night, Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman took to Facebook to let residents know that both the City Manager and Police Chief respond to a major traffic backup at the foot of one of the bridges, causing massive frustration. The post in full said, “We know there is a major traffic back up headed eastbound onto Tybee. Our City Manager and Police Chief are on site trying to address the issue now to get traffic moving even though this is GDOT’s jurisdiction. There is a work crew near the foot of the Lazaretto Creek Bridge which is causing the back up. Will provide more info as soon as we have it. This has been going on for the entire afternoon. People are missing meetings, late for appointments and having all kinds of issues as a result of this.”
“A D.O.T contractor was out there yesterday. We didn’t get any notification of that. So that caused a lot of problems. What we’d prefer is to be notified so we can work with them as best we can and try to notify the public," Buelterman said.
Jill Nagel, the District Communications Officer with the Georgia Department of Transportation explained what exactly caused the back-up and apologized to drivers for the delays.
It was a miscommunication. We try to take time always to advise the public of what we’re doing and when we’re going to work in the roadways when there will be traffic delays. Things can slip through and we did not get notified, so we apologize to the public if they were delayed."
Both Tybee and Georgia D.O.T. agreed that they are trying to work together to keep citizens informed about when they can expect delays.
“They only work at night and that is Sunday through Thursday night from seven p.m. to five a.m. so they won’t impede on weekend traffic or daytime traffic," Nagel added.
According to Mayor Buelterman’s Facebook Wednesday- there is no timeline on the construction start date of the Bull River and Lazaretto Creek bridges replacement project and for the repaving work, crews are about two-thirds of the way finished on a 60 day contract and the city has asked for an expected completion date. That post read, “The work done yesterday that impacted traffic is complete. There are not expected to be any delays today. That work was boring work being done in preparation for the bridge replacement project. The crew went out overnight to complete the boring work. There is no timeline on the construction start date of the Bull River and Lazaretto Creek bridges replacement project. GDOT did not advise us of the work that backed up traffic yesterday. They have apologized and committed to ensuring we have a heads up on any future work that could impact traffic. As for the repaving work, they are about 2/3 finished on a 60 day contract. We have asked for an expected competition date. We will advise once we when we get a firm completion date.”