Three key intersections in South Bryan will be studied for improvements as the Bryan County Board of Commissioners continues to address growth and infrastructure issues.
Engineering and design work will proceed for Belfast River Road at Belfast Keller Road, Belfast River Road at Harris Trail and U.S. 17 at Belfast Keller Road.
The three locations were among several noted in a 2015 transportation study that called for traffic lights, roundabouts or other improvements in South Bryan and the city of Richmond Hill. Also included in the study was Port Royal Road at Harris Trail and Port Royal Road at Highway 144.
County Administrator Ben Taylor told commissioners last week that the county would work with the Georgia Department of Transportation on the projects. Taylor said the work would be paid for out of funds raised by the T-SPLOST levy, which will appear on the May 22 ballot. If it passes, the tax would raise about $20 million for transportation projects for the county and the cities of Richmond Hill and Pembroke.
Even if the levy does not pass, Taylor noted, the county still need to move ahead with the work due to increasing traffic congestion. Bryan County’s population in 1980 was about 7,000. It is approaching 40,000 now and expected to be at 60,000 by 2030.
Several residents from the Dunham Marsh subdivision expressed their concerns at the commissioners’ December meeting about the safety of the Belfast River Road and Harris Trail intersection.
The intersections targeted by the county for study are key as they will be heavily impacted by the proposed I-95 interchange at Belfast Keller Road. On top of that, more than 9,000 new units will be built over the next several decades on land in the area owned by Rayonier that was recently annexed into the city of Richmond Hill.
Within the annexed land, a connector road between Harris Trail and Belfast Keller Road will be built, something else the 2015 study called for as a way to alleviate traffic congestion on Highway 144.
Commissioners at their December meeting approved spending $115,828 to add two-foot shoulders to Belfast River Road from Harris Trail to Belfast Keller Road.