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Fix on way for Veterans Parkway
SPLOST money committed to light, other fixes at busy area

The Liberty County Commission has joined with the city of Hinesville to try to prevent what City Manager Billy Edwards called a quagmire of traffic problems on Veterans Parkway.

The city and the county have committed Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds for a traffic signal and other work between Lowe’s and Walmart.

Edwards said an acceleration-deceleration lane is also needed to improve the intersection.

Commissioners unanimously approved $102,000 for the work that Edwards described as spurring new development in the area.

"A retail establishment wants to go in there today," he said, but did not name the retailer.

Edwards told the commissioners that a developer has committed funds for the work but that he did not yet have a commitment from Walmart. That’s necessary because some of the work will be on Walmart property, Edwards said.

Another project that is still in the planning stages will share the driveway of the Lowe’s store at 735 West Oglethorpe Highway, the intersection of the highway and Veterans Parkway, Edwards said.

In other business the commissioners heard a report from Emergency Medical Services Director Shawn Parker.

He said that while the number of calls always varies from month to month, November had seen a spike. The 741 calls in November were higher by 100 or 150, Parker said.

Commissioners were concerned about having serviceable ambulances available, as well as the costs of repairing older vehicles. Parker told the commissioners that the three ambulances used as backup vehicles when needed each have around 300,000 miles on them.

SPLOST funds are allocated for one new ambulance each year. The commissioners agreed with a suggestion from Commissioner Connie Thrift that consideration be given to buying two new ambulances annually.

The commissioners also approved rezoning 41 acres at Highway 196 and Groover Road from agricultural to residential. The new zoning will permit a 37-lot subdivision but commissioners cautioned developer David McDonald Enterprises about rules for subdivisions.

Neighbors living near the property told the commissioners that activities such as clearing and grading and drainage had already begun and questioned whether required permission had been given. County Administrator Joey Brown said that authorization from the Environmental Protection Division of Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army’s Corps of Engineers might be needed.

One resident expressed concern about the number of vehicles that might be entering and leaving the subdivision near a bad curve in Highway 196. The Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission recommended approval of the rezoning but has not asked for a traffic study.

Traffic studies if needed are part of the process for new subdivision; developers are required to get both preliminary and final approval when they draw up plans for their projects.

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