Mayor Johnson says Broughton Street construction pausing during December

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Mayor Van Johnson said Tuesday that construction on Broughton Street will be temporarily paused in December during the holiday season. The construction has heavily impacted 84 businesses over the past two years when construction began during the beginning of the worldwide pandemic.

“Broughton Street will be an open street for the holidays and there will be no orange barricades and there will be no fencing and there will be no equipment,” Johnson said. “But understand very clearly, the beginning of January we’re back on again, right… we have to finish this project, we have to go ahead and get it done.”

Instead of its distinguishing orange construction theme, Johnson said it’s getting replaced with holiday lights, music, dancing and games to transition the street.

“There will be lights, look for music, look for dancing, look for games, look for shopping specials, and more on Broughton street in December, and as I always say stay tuned for details but it is going to be epic,” explained Mayor Johnson.

For the 84 total businesses effected by the Broughton streetscape project, the last year and a half has been challenging, but through all the roadblocks and delays, business has stayed steady.

“December’s a really really busy month down here especially when they have the Christmas tree down here on Bull street, and a lot of people like being out and about and shopping and having like the holiday season down on Broughton street, so I think that’ll be good. I’m not looking forward to an extra month of no progress,” said Josh Cook, General Manager of The Coffee Fox on Broughton.

Johnson says the project — originally only expected to take a few months — has dug up unplanned problems such as supply chain delays and COVID-19 shutdowns. Construction is expected to be fully completed by June 2022.

“We recognized that it was important because we had aging infrastructure underneath Broughton Street,” Johnson says. “We recognized that our main street should look a lot better than it was looking.”

Johnson also said the city is close to lifting its mask mandate as COVID-19 infections have started to level off in the Hostess City.

“We’re almost there and so I’m hoping to do that soon and I’m going be more than pleased to take that banner down myself,” Johnson says. He said the city’s health experts continue to evaluate infections daily and could make the decision in a matter of days.

Johnson said the city may move back to a mask advisory — first put in place in early June — that simply encourages residents to wear masks while indoors. Johnson said a mask will continue to be a part of his daily wardrobe and he’ll continue to wear one when around people he doesn’t know.

The mask mandate was reimplemented in late July, requiring visitors to mask up while inside city buildings and while riding in vehicles on guided tours. The city stopped short of forcing local businesses to require face coverings, instead, simply encouraging them to do so.

Chatham County’s community transmission index — which accounts for the number of infections per 100,000 residents in the past two weeks — dipped below a high of 100 on Nov. 3 for the first time since mid-July 13 but has since jumped back into the 100’s.

Statewide thresholds, established early on in the pandemic, call for mask mandates if community spread is sustained above 100.

City Council chambers also got a facelift ahead of its resume to in-person meetings this week. Plexi-glass is set up between each seat to separate each member and attempt to protect them from spreading COVID.

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