SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – For some drivers, being stuck at a red light doesn’t compare to the frustration they have being stuck in traffic. That’s especially true for those traveling on Dean Forest Road or I-16.
“I get off work at 3:30 and from one whole block, it takes me about 20 minutes just to get to the highway,” said Zimmie Curry, about his daily drive on Dean Forest Road.
Tyesha Rice, who also travels on Dean Forest said, “The traffic is horrible over here. It be backed up from 16, all the way back to like almost to 80. It takes a while just to get up here off the exit. Sometimes I’ll turn around and try to go back the other way or go down 80. I feel like they take long to do construction. They’ve been working on 16 for like a couple of years, and they’re still not done with it.”
The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is asking drivers to allow them time to develop Georgia roads as they look toward the future.
“We want to tell people too, pardon our progress, but once these major projects are complete, it’s going to improve safety, it’s going to improve mobility in the area and that will help them for years to come,” said Jill Nagel, District Communications Officer at GDOT.
Both Dean Forest Road and I-16 have had their share of congestion due in part to the limited number of lanes available to drivers and development.
“There are lane closures and a lot of construction going on in that area, so that could be part of the delays they’re seeing. It’s a diverging diamond interchange like it is at I-95 and State Route 21 where you cross,” said Nagel.
A diverging diamond interchange moves traffic flow to the opposite side of the road to allow vehicles to enter the freeway by turning left onto an on-ramp without stopping. This can reduce points of conflict and improves traffic flow and safety.
“You are kind of going in our typical, normal configuration,” said Nagel. “They switch sides and it’s safer with a diversion diamond. We have so much truck traffic in that area that it’s going to allow for more mobility moving freight through that interchange.”
For some looking for an alternative route to avoid traffic getting to a destination, Nagel said drivers can consider taking I-95.
“But right now, in that area of 16, we do have our Major Mobility Project, the intersection of I-16 and 95, that interchanges there. They’re reconfiguring, they’re widening I-16 and they’re also doing a diverging diamond interchange at 16 and 307. So, there is a lot of construction work going on in that area.”
The diverging diamond Interchange at State Route 307, Dean Forest Road and I-16 is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
Until then, drivers have tips that may help others who often find themselves stuck in traffic.
“I listen to music, but first and foremost, if I know it’s coming, I make sure I have gas in my car. You don’t want to run out of gas sitting in the middle of traffic, now you really will be stuck,” said Curry.
Rice said, “Just listen to music.” On her music choice, she said, “Beyonce”.
Nagel also has some advice for drivers that could help make their experience a little more pleasant.
“They can always go to 511 Georgia and get updates on construction on the map and we also have the app, the 511 Georgia app,” she said. “And that keeps you up to date on what is going on right now on the roadway.
“So, if you’re planning a trip, that’s a great thing you can utilize to make sure you don’t hit these traffic delays due to construction.”