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Jeff Whitten: 10 worst places to drive in Bryan County
editor's notes

In my infinite wisdom as a fat little weekly newspaper editor, I have decided to make a list this week of the 10 worst places to have to drive in Bryan County, according to me.

I did this because I’m told everybody loves lists and I hate driving and am a natural born whiner. Here you go:

10. Highway 144 near Port Royal Road near the Publix. Admittedly, I haven’t been down that way in a while because I’d rather take a whupping than drive anywhere near there anytime during normal human hours.

9. Highway 17 from the Liberty County line to Chatham County. They should 8-lane Highway 17 to accommodate the volume of traffic or blow it up and make people drive somewhere else. When you’ve got some motorists going 90 mph and others doing 45 and there are left and right turns all over the place, bad things tend to happen. Plus, every fifth car on 17 probably isn’t insured and every ninth driver probably doesn’t have a license and is armed, drunk and angry to boot.

8. Highway 17 from Chatham County all the way to Liberty County. 7. See No. 9.

7. Highway 280 from Pembroke to Claxton when you’re stuck behind some guy in a smoke-belching 2000 Chevy S-10 pulling a wobbly trailer with an assortment of beat up lawnmowers while he’s doing 50 mph and sucking on what might be a beer and the log truck driver positioning his headlights a foot off your back bumper has to get to the men’s room and is fixing to run over everybody in North Bryan.

6. I-95 at Belfast Keller. I know, the place hasn’t even been developed yet apart from that giant warehouse. You just wait.

5. Highway 144 west of Highway 17. When traffic is moving you never know if or when someone in a Hyundai is going to come flying out of the post office or the library or bank or the Dollar Tree/Goodwill/Old Kroger shopping center parking lot like a maniac. Or, someone in a minivan will turn on to 144 from 17 and then try to take a left into one or both pharmacies at the same time and get stranded in the left turn lane and cause an innocent driver to miss the light and have to wait another 10 minutes for the whole shebang to cycle back around.

4. The parking lot in front of the Bryan County News office. It’s a daily shortcut for thousands, or at least hundreds, of folks trying to avoid the light at 17 so they can get to 144 faster. I’d petition city council to put up speed bumps or a chain link fence if I didn’t have to park there on occasion.

3. I-95 from just south of the Highway 17 exit all the way to Highway 204 – which is in Chatham, but it’s just over the river – and back again. I used to think the 95 and I-16 interchange was scary, but I-95 around Richmond Hill will make you reach your pucker factor just as fast, if not faster.

2. The 144 interchange at 95. Sure, it’s being remodeled into a go-around-and-about and is a work in progress. Right now it’s like an accident waiting to happen, particularly at night. It’s a wonder old people like me with bad eyesight and boils don’t wind up upside down and buried in traffic cones. In fact, it’s a confusing, contradictory, bumpy, dusty, dirty, cockeyed mess made worse by people who either don’t know they ought to dim their headlights to oncoming traffic or bought the extra bright ones so they could see better and to heck with the rest of the world. The best safety feature of that interchange right now is you hopefully aren’t going very fast when you get there.

1. At present, the worst place to drive in Bryan County Georgia is in Blitchton and Black Creek and it’s known as the Highway 280 corridor. There are a lot of bad things going on up there, not least of which is the ever increasing truck traffic from the ports taking Highway 80 over to 280 so they can get to I-16, and all this while the rest of us try to avoid getting squashed or stuck behind 14 tractor trailers.

Yes, we need trucks, and those who drive them, or we wouldn’t have stuff. But moderation is key, and right now you got the trucks coming out of the Interstate Centres on both sides of 280, and a shiny new truck stop just down the road and the Mega-Site on the other side of 16 likely to add even more truck traffic to the mix. All this with basically no traffic control out there apart from a yield sign or two, and we all know yield means the other guy will stop if you pull out in front of him.

Lights are on the way, maybe, but until then, drive safe or stay home.

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