Updated: Wed, 01/09/2013 - 17:49

Tybee traffic message board planned for U.S. 80

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Tybee Road will be a less maddening stretch of asphalt to the beach bound this summer.

Plans calls for the installation of an electronic message board near the intersection of Bryan Woods Road and U.S. 80 on Whitemarsh Island. The City of Tybee, Chatham County and the Georgia Department of Transportation are expected to share in the costs of the solar-powered sign.

Tybee City Council will vote tonight on its share of the approximately $22,000 in funding for the message board.

“It’s something that’s been needed for several years now,” Tybee City Councilwoman Wanda Doyle told the Tybee Island Tourism Council board on Wednesday.

The message sign will list traffic information with Tybee-bound motorists. The Tybee Road, the stretch of U.S. 80 between the bridges spanning Bull River and Lazaretto Creek, regularly chokes with traffic due to accidents and congestion during the summer time. High tides occasionally flood the roadways as well.

Keith Gay, chairman of the Tybee Tourism Council, welcomed the message board news.

“The frustration level of visitors to the island will decrease significantly,” said Gay, who operates a vacation rental business on the island. “I can attest to how infuriated guests who sit in traffic on that road are by the time they get here. With this sign, they’ll have the opportunity to turn around and go back to Savannah for a few hours or shoot over to Wilmington for a bite to eat while the traffic clears.”

The message board will sit roadside but will not span the highway as is often seen along major travel routes such as the interstates in the Atlanta area. Doyle pushed for the over-the-road signs, but cost estimates were “astronomical, like a million dollars,” she said.

The sign should be in place before the summer travel season, assuming the city of Tybee, Chatham County and the Georgia Department of Transportation approve the funds.

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