Traffic Control Measures Helped Throughout The St. Patrick's Day - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Traffic Control Measures Helped Throughout The St. Patrick's Day Festival

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Savannah, Georgia -

Crowds of people and cars flocked to downtown Savannah for the past weekend's four day St. Patrick's Day festival. Those crowds presented special challenges for city traffic control and police - but this year the two agencies worked together.

Downtown Savannah's traffic pattern leads to a number of problems when thousands of visitors descend on the city. Lt. Anthony Gallo of Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police explains, "The downtown area is not really designed for traffic flow - it's been laid out for - basically when they designed it - it was for horse and carriages - so with the squares and the roadways - they're really not designed for a lot of volume."

And he says there are limited things that can be done to solve those problems, "Over the years we've come up with different tactics - we've come up with different plans, we've tried to shut down like the city market area to keep cars/vehicular traffic out of there - what that does is it's the vehicles out the surrounding roadways - so whatever we do to correct the problem - we're creating a secondary problem."

So for this year's St. Patrick's Day festival they tried something new - working closely with city traffic engineers inside the Emergency Control Center to try to better resolve issues when they cropped up.

Traffic Engineer Stephen Henry says, "The goal is to continue to move traffic - try to keep from being just a standstill much." The engineers changed light cycles as needed, the agencies consulted together on road closures and barricade placement. Overall they say their planning worked well - though Henry says heavier crowds Saturday night presented more of a challenge, "Saturday night we just lost it - there wasn't any keeping 'em out of the road and so that adds to the congestion." Congestion they believe could have been much worse throughout the weekend without good planning.

Authorities say the collaboration worked so well - there are plans for the agencies to work together for the July 4th crowds and possibly other events as well.

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