Tybee Island, G.A. (WSAV) – The work on Lazaretto Creek Bridge has been completed and all lanes are now open. The frustrations for residents of Tybee Island, however, will remain top of mind.
On Saturday, Chatham County officials asked people not to go to Tybee Island over the weekend unless necessary, citing significant delays. The residents of the island, however, said they didn’t have much of a choice.
“Everybody’s extremely frustrated and irritated with how this is being handled,” said Michael Locklear.
Locklear, a lifelong Tybee resident, sent a complaint to the Georgia Department of Transportation, after he said his daughter spent nearly two hours in the traffic on her school bus on Friday. He said the traffic made daily tasks stressful.
“I have to plan earlier, I have to wake up earlier, I have to leave earlier, in hopes that the timing is perfect for traffic to where I don’t get stuck and can still make it to work on time. And then, I try to get everything done while I’m off the island, before I come home so I’m not running back and forth sitting in that constant traffic,” he said.
GDOT officials said they had a hard time getting into a rhythm of allowing cars across opposite sides of the bridge, and the weekend provides new challenges.
“On the weekends, now we’re finding it’s different–you don’t have your commuter hours. So, we’re trying to adapt to the weekend traffic. We are working with this contractor and trying to alleviate some of this backup,” said GDOT district communications officer Jill Nagel.
Locklear said Tybee’s unique features make this kind of construction more difficult.
“This is unfortunately one way on, one way off the island. You’ve got your peak summertime coming up with all of your holidays, you’ve got hurricane season coming up. There’s a lot that factors into living out here and doing this type of construction,” Locklear said.
Transportation officials said they were working towards widening the shoulders of the bridge to 8 feet and improving safety.
“We know this has been an imposition to the residents and people going to and from the island, but we are trying to provide them something that’s really going to benefit the community in the future with a wider bridge. And it also accommodates cyclists and pedestrians in a safe manner,” said Nagel.
And that in the end it will have been worth it.
“It is something we have to do, to make sure we’re going to provide them a bridge that will benefit them for years to come,” Nagel said.
Construction for the bridge was completed on Sunday morning.