TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - The City of Tybee Island is testing out a new plan for big weekends like St. Patrick’s Day and Orange Crush, but this year’s Fourth of July celebration will be the biggest test yet.
At a meeting Wednesday night, the city talked about what works and what doesn’t on big traffic weekends like July 4.
“We are a full house this Fourth of July weekend," said Maria Lancaster, Tybee Vacation Rentals.
City Manager Shawn Gillen says the city is investing in barricades and cones to control traffic coming on and off the island. One of their biggest tasks is making sure once parking fills up on the south end to push traffic back to the north end.
At the end of the night, all traffic will be sent to Jones and Butler Avenues to get off the island.
“You have 7-8,000 vehicles trying to leave the island at the same time. It can cause a tremendous amount of problems. This whole system is set up to help that flow of the traffic where we want it to be so our emergency vehicles can still get up and down and still get to people."
Tybee Vacation Rentals has booked 300 properties for July 4. Businesses are asking questions ahead of the traffic frenzy. So far, they are impressed with the plan.
“The organization behind it and the cooperation between the businesses and our police force and our city managers and his employees, it’s been phenomenal.”
“These are great people. They are very smart. They ask some great questions, and I know every one of them. We are a small town and everybody knows everybody. We’re not trying to make their lives miserable. What we are trying to do is help the situation.”
The city’s plan is to the point, but it can’t fix everything. They are trying to avoid the worst, which is a crash blocking two-lane Highway 80 - the only way on and off Tybee.
The city says they will be helping locals and businesses make this holiday go smoothly.
“It’s summer. It’s the beach. It’s an amazing place to come and hang out and enjoy our weather, our beach, our beauty. It’s going to be crazy, but it’ll be a crazy fun.”
We’re a little over a week away from July 4 and police continue to make last minute preps. If you have any questions, you can reach out to the city.
For a list of Fourth of July events going on in the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry, click here.