All lanes on Lazaretto Bridge reopened following construction

Published: Mar. 25, 2023 at 10:06 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 26, 2023 at 4:23 PM EDT
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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) -UPDATE- All lanes on the Lazaretto Bridge are open for traffic.

Original Story- The Lazaretto Creek Bridge, which is the only way on or off Tybee Island, has been shut down to one lane since Monday.

The Georgia Department of Transportation says this is so crews can get preliminary work done that’s required for a future bridge replacement project.

The work is necessary but has led to major traffic delays this weekend.

People trying to get on and off of Tybee Island have reported hours-long waits to cross the bridge Friday into this weekend, which has been a frustrating situation all around.

“We hit the bridge around 9:30 last night and sat still a long time as we watched a single line of cars come over the bridge, until finally a pilot car let us go back. It made us about a half an hour to 45 minutes later than we would’ve been otherwise,” said Jim Crump, a Tybee Island visitor.

It’s an especially frustrating situation to get caught up in at any time, but especially after a five-hour drive on vacation.

“We have a six and a seven-year-old, and they were just like, ‘Are we there yet? Are we there yet?’ We had just gotten Wendy’s and were ready to eat and just wanted to get to the AirBnB, and that was the last thing we wanted to see when we were trying to come in,” said Allie Crump, another visitor.

The Crumps are some of the lucky ones.

They were getting onto the island, which Tybee City Manager Shawn Gillen says, hasn’t been taking as long as getting off the island.

Gillen says he got caught up for over an hour trying to leave on Friday, and when he got to the other side of the bridge, there were very few cars.

“Their lane closure sequences were off, so everything was piling up on the island. So we called GDOT and got them to relay the message to the crews on the bridge to clear the island before they let any more cars on,” said Shawn Gillen, Tybee Island City Manager.

Still, at times on Saturday, traffic to leave the island was backed up from the Lazaretto Bridge all the way past Campbell Avenue.

Gillen says that while this is a GDOT project, not a City of Tybee project, those trying to get to and from the island need to be patient. He says the future bridge replacement project will benefit everyone who enjoys Tybee in the long run.

“When you see bicycles on Lazaretto Creek Bridge now, it’s a scary situation. And pedestrians. And if there’s an accident on the bridge, that’s a real concern that we have. The new bridges will allow us to get somebody off the island, even if there is an accident,” said Gillen.

Work is expected to continue this weekend and hopefully be completed by Tuesday.