By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Officials weigh roads, transportation needs
Placeholder Image
“I just have to say, I love the traffic circle in Hinesville,” said Verdell Jones, representing the school board and hospital authority at last week’s county planning workshop.
“I think you either hate it or love it,” said Kenny Smiley.
The Chamber of Commerce executive director was concerned with how the Memorial Drive realignment project took focus off VIP promotional products, Stewart Pets and couple other businesses along what was Memorial Drive.
“I want those businesses turned around,” Smiley said. “They’re all facing now a road that’s leading to nowhere.”
The roundabout was like an overnight change for a lot of drivers, according to Rene Harwell, Liberty Regional Medical Center marketing director, and she wondered how truckers maneuver the circle.
“Once it gets landscaped, they’re going to take out half of it,” Harwell said.
The much-anticipated Hinesville bypass was touted as a solution to a few congestion problems.
“I believe once the bypass goes through, you’ll see growth along that bypass,” Smiley said, referencing Statesboro’s fairly new bypass.
“I mean, it’s a mecca of businesses and retail and its steady growing,” Smiley said. “It’s a whole new world for them.”
But following that example could mean a “Holmestown Mall” for Liberty County, according to Lynn Pace with the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission.
“You really don’t want your retail on a bypass, away from the residential areas, where you have to drive to get to it,” Pace said.
And a bypass may draw people, who would have normally stopped, away from patronizing local business, according to Kathy Love, president of Savannah Technical College’s Liberty Campus.
Facilitator Whitney Shepherd said the bypass is in the long-range transportation plan, but reminded the group of the public transit system is set to roll out Nov. 1.
The group applauded planners for adding Wal-Mart as a stop, after it was not in the original plan.
“We think we have a pretty good system for year one, but we know that it’s not perfect,” Shepherd said.
To help manage congestion, the group said traffic should be monitored with road use surveys.
“Not only do we want travel, but we want safe travel,” Shepherd said.
Pace wanted to see safer alternatives for bicyclists and walkers. But because of illegal riding on sidewalks and lack of sidewalks in the most populous parts of the county, she thought it put them between a rock and hard place.
“If you tangle a bicycle with a pedestrian, nobody’s going to die,” Pace said. “But if you tangle a bicycle with a car, somebody’s going to die.”
Smiley agreed, but mentioned lack of right-a-way for the county to put up sidewalks in Walthourville.
“You’re taking your life in your hands if you’re walking down Talmadge Road … because there’s just so much traffic,” he said.
Shepherd added all the buses part of the new transit system will have bike racks on the front.
Sign up for our e-newsletters