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County tables Highway 17 rezoning
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Bryan County commissioners tabled a vote Tuesday night on a rezoning request which would allow a mini storage facility at Clarktown Road and Highway 17, after the county’s engineering department recommended a decision be deferred until the applicants complete a traffic design analysis.

A handful of Clarktown Road residents also traveled to Pembroke to speak out against the proposed rezoning. It seeks to turn a 6.5 acre lot on the corner of Clarktown and 17 from rural residential to business, which would open the door for an 11-unit storage facility, county documents show.

Resident Cheryl Sanders said she was opposed to the rezoning “on a number of levels,” but “it just goes back to the fact that is a bad traffic area.”

According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, there were 33 crashes reported at the Clarktown Road and Highway 17 intersection from January 2015 to December 2019. Nearly half of the reported crashes there were due to left turns. What’s more, GDOT’s map showing traffic on area roadways shows Highway 17 in 2020 had an average daily traffic count of more than 25,000 vehicles a day on that stretch of divided four-lane highway from the Liberty County line north to Richmond Hill.

Motorists also routinely go faster than the posted 55 mph limit.

The Georgia Department of Transportation planned to put what is known as an RCUT at the intersection by the end of 2021. GDOT said the RCUT, or reduced conflict u-turn design, prevents left turns and U-turns and limits accidents.

Resident Patrick Mc-Donald told commissioners he’s lived in the area 40 years, starting in Hilton Head, then Pooler, and now Richmond Hill, and said he moved away to the latter to get away from growth in those areas, but “it’s going that way here,” he said, also noting Clarktown isn’t designed for truck traffic.

An engineer for the property owners was at the meeting to answer questions from commissioners, who had none.

The issue will apparently be taken up again by commissioners at their February meeting in Richmond Hill.

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