Road closure begins as construction starts on Bull River, Lazaretto Creek bridges

Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 11:22 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 9, 2023 at 3:13 PM EST
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Drivers should expect major slowdowns on Highway 80 at the Bull River and Lazaretto Creek bridges for at least the next 30 days.

It’s all part of a Georgia Department of Transportation project to replace the bridges.

GDOT will work around the clock for 10 days straight and then take four days off. The four days will include weekends.

This cycle will last for about a month while they gather information to find out how they need to design the sub-structure that will hold up the new bridges that’ll be put in. Although these delays are aggravating to drivers, GDOT says this part of the project is important.

The new bridges won’t be as narrow and will have an emergency lane and space for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Anyone who has gotten stuck in traffic on Highway 80 when a wreck closes the road knows exactly how important that extra space for emergency vehicles is.

Tybee’s City Manager Shawn Gillen says this project is a long time in the making, so it’s exciting to see the crews in action.

Gillen says he will be in touch with GDOT every day during this phase and that they’ve really stepped up to the plate for the city and heard their concerns.

“Our biggest concern has been public safety on those bridges. Something we’ve reiterated to the metropolitan planning organization and GDOT over and over is if we there’s an accident on the bridge we can’t get off the island, if we can’t fly a helicopter it means we can’t get a medical emergency evacuated so the {new} bridges are designed that we could work around the accident if need be.”

The only lane closure, right now, is here at the Bull River Bridge. The Lazaretto Creek Bridge still has two lanes open.

There’s no word on when work will start on that bridge.

GDOT officials did tell me just a little bit ago that after seeing the back-ups today, they’re going to adjust the traffic signal timing to allow more cars to go through during peak travel times.

It’s also a good idea to follow Georgia DOT Southeast on Facebook where they say they’ll post updates every step of the way.