Effingham Co. commissioners asking public to share thoughts on traffic solutions at meeting Thursday night

Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 5:09 AM EDT
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EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - If you live or work in Effingham County, you know that in some areas at certain times of the day, you can count on traffic backups.

But that is just the beginning in the struggles for Effingham County as they deal with an influx of people.

Traffic congestion, water/sewer line issues and zoning have been a continuous topics of discussions in the county and commissioners say they are just growing too fast to keep up.

According to the population in Effingham county was around 52,000 in 2010 and by the 2020 census it had jumped to 64,000. Just one year later in 2021, they estimate the population was around 66,000.

While there are a number of factors that could have led to an increase, Commissioner Roger Burdette says some of it is a ripple effect from the growth at the Savannah Port.

That has led to increased businesses moving to the area, which also means more people and more traffic than Effingham County has ever experienced before.

″It used to be Effingham County, we were so far away from the port that nobody would give us a second look, now that they have expanded out, we are prime now so everybody is trying to get in here with shipping containers and other types of businesses and we have to try to find a way to navigate through that and handle the explosion of growth we have had,” Burdette said.

The county does have some large infrastructure projects in the works, including Effingham Parkway which would stretch from Blue Jay Road to Chatham County.

Even though that project is on schedule, it won’t be complete until 2025.

County commissioners say something needs to be done now to help. Commissioner Roger Burdette says this has turned from just a growth issue into a safety issue.

The commissioners say they need the public’s help to come up with some solutions to the problems being caused by the sudden growth in the county.

Tonight, the county officials want to hear what challenges you have had.

Commissioner Roger Burdette says he already heard from many residents in his district about issues getting out of their driveways, getting to work or school because of huge traffic backups.

All of those traffic problems led to an increase of crashes in some hot spots in the county, so Burdette says they need to come up with a mechanism or tool to slow the growth and get infrastructure in place.

“Effingham County there was nothing broken, what’s happened is we have experienced so much growth in such a short period of time, the things we are encountering now and experiencing now never happened before so there is a lot of things we don’t have mechanisms for, like shipping containers and other things like that,” he said.

Tonight’s public work session is happening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Effingham County Administrative Complex in Springfield. Anyone is welcome to attend and share your experiences and thoughts on solutions.

The commissioners say they already know there is a problem but tonight is really the first step in getting it under control.

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