The Hinesville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (HAMPO) is in the process of updating the 2020-2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan, (MTP) and is currently seeking the public’s input.
HAMPO was established to address transportation planning within the urbanized portions of Liberty and Long Counties, including Fort Stewart, and the municipalities of Hinesville, Allenhurst, Flemington, Gum Branch, Midway, Riceboro and Walthourville.
Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) are federally designated organizations tasked with the responsibility to facilitate cohesive planning practices, project identification and programming within their identified region. MPOs are areas with over 50,000 in population that are mandated to carry out the transportation planning process, including the allocation of federal funding for transportation projects.
HAMPO is staffed by the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission and operates under the leadership of a Policy Committee comprised of elected officials and other decision makers from each participating jurisdiction, the Georgia Department of Transportation, and other state and federal agencies.
Committee members identified issues and established long-term goals as required by federal law to ensure safety and traffic enhancements are designed to meet the needs of a growing population to maintain proper infrastructure.
Ricketson said Transportation plans are updated every five years and have become more data driven. The proposed comprehensive plan includes a variety of statistics that address future transportation challenges, funding priorities, pedestrian, bicycle and vehicles crashes, fatal crash locations and rates, right of ways studies, Liberty County transit studies, population studies and growth studies.
Because it is mandated GDOT funds the preparation and drafting of the plan, Ricketson said.
The current draft includes a detailed 176-page plan as well as a 254-page appendix of current and future road projects.
Many roadway projects have been included in past HAMPO Plans such as the Airport Road/Highway 119 widening project, Veterans Parkway, Russell Swamp Bridge and Barrington Ferry Road improvements to name a few.
Ricketson said one project that was on the previous HAMPO Plan, the redesign of the intersection of Highway 84 and Old Sunbury Road, locally referred to as McLarry’s Curve, is entering the construction phase and set to be complete within a year.
Some of the road projects in the current draft include:
• The Hinesville Freight Connector that will allow semi-trucks to use an alternate route, lessening their impact on traffic along Highway 84.
• Widening sections of General Stewart from two lanes to four.
• Creating a Flemington Loop bypass.
• Widening U.S. Highway 17 from two lane to four from Highway 84 to Barrington Ferry Road and then to E.B. Cooper Highway.
• Widening Islands Highway from the I-95 exit ramp east to the Tradeport access road.
• Widening E. B. Cooper Highway to accommodate the Freight Connector project.
• A variety of road safety, shoulder and sidewalk improvements across the county.
Ricketson said most projects will be wholly funded by the Transportation Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST). Others will be funded through Capital project budgets, grants, TSPLOST and GDOT.
Several projects address traffic patterns and signal lights and improvements on Highway 57 in Long County, Gumbranch along Highway 196 and Elim Church Road and Rye Patch Road.
Ricketson said the Hinesville Freight Connector has been in the planning stages for nearly three decades, but the project is now moving forward with construction to begin within a year.
“We have been working diligently on your behalf to get the draft document circulated for oversight agency review and public comment, LCPC Executive Director Jeff Ricketson said. “The public comment period is open from August 1 – August 30.”
Ricketson said digital copies and comment forms are available online at the following location: https://thelcpc.org/hampo-2020-2045-metropolitan-transportation-plan-mtp-update/
Printed formats of the Draft Plan are at following locations:
• Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission
• Liberty County Courthouse Annex
• Hinesville City Hall
• Live Oak Public Library Liberty Branch
• Live Oak Public Library Midway-Riceboro Branch
• Long County Library
• Long County Board of Commissioners office
Documents are also posted below.