CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - State Route 21 reopened Friday afternoon after being closed since May 2 when a C-130 aircraft crashed on the highway, killing nine Puerto Rican airmen.
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, the road was determined to be safe for travel by the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Savannah Air National Guard.
Within the last month, over 30,000 drivers were affected by the closure. GDOT, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and the Savannah Air National Guard worked around the clock to determine an opening date. Drivers who frequent the highway tell us they are relieved that it's back open. They remained patient through the process.
A truck driver we spoke to says rerouting got a little frustrating, but he was able to make it work for the time being.
"I travel 21 all day long, and going around on Jimmy DeLoach was just terrible. It will be back to mornings and nights and everything," said Chris Costin.
The owner of Crossgate Motors says he had to shut his business down for a few weeks because his business is right beside the plane crash site. He says he lost a lot of money and customers, but his heart goes out to the airmen who lost their lives.
"I'm definitely excited. We need this business back. We lost revenue. We had equipment affected here amongst other things," Larry Duncan said.
Motorists can still expect intermittent lane closures while workers continue to repair the highway's shoulders.