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DOT: Traffic is going to get heavy
n Near gridlock could be common if projections of growth hold true

The Georgia Department of Transportation is progressing in their Bryan County Transportation Study. The study, which began last year and will be presented to county officials in September, is intended to be a tool for how future roadwork should be approached from now through 2035.

GDOT recently conducted public hearings on both ends of the county to "so that the citizens of Bryan County can give us information to make sure we’re basing our information on all the right criteria," project manager Kyle Mote said. "Right now, we’re almost to the point to come up with project recommendations."

Mote projects that the county population will double from 23,000 to 46,000 by 2035. He also projects the number of jobs in the county will triple from 5,500 to 14,500. All of this equals more commuters and more total traffic for the area.

Mote said if the county grows according to those projections and no road improvements are made, there will near-gridlock conditions in several parts of Bryan, including along Hwy. 144 and around the area of the Black Creek industrial park. He said traffic congestion will more than triple in many parts of Richmond Hill. For example, he said it would take 45 minutes to get to the interstate from Belfast Siding Road.

But Mote still is not ready to say what road projects should take place to avoid this dilemma.

That will come in July during the next phase, followed by more public hearings to see if the public thinks they’re on target.

"That’s when we’ll be looking at data and decide projects and their priority level," said Grady Smith with the GDOT. "At that point, we’ll look at cost estimates and potential environmental issues and come out with final set of recommendations. We’ll then give our report to leaders in the county and put it up on our website."

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