Plans to repave and re-stripe Gloucester Street in downtown Brunswick will be delayed if city officials have any say in the project.
City commissioners unanimously agreed at a special called meeting Tuesday to ask Georgia Department of Transportation officials to stop the start of the work, scheduled to begin within the next week. They said they were never told about the work until recently and don’t agree with all the plans.
One of the concerns is with what is described by DOT officials as a “road diet,” meaning the road would be narrowed from four lanes to three, with the center lane designated for turns. Commissioners said the congestion and accidents on Gloucester Street in the mornings and afternoons from Glynn Academy and Glynn Middle School traffic would be even worse by eliminating one lane.
From a public safety perspective, another concern is that students don’t wait for traffic signals to cross the street. They also fear narrowing Gloucester Street in front of the fire station could slow response times if trucks can’t pull out of the station.
Commissioner Johnny Cason said the only time there are traffic problems on Gloucester Street are during peak times when school begins and ends.
“I want to strongly oppose the road diet,” Cason said. “We need to get it stopped. There has been no communication.”
Commissioner Julie Martin expressed disappointment that no dedicated bike lanes are included in the design.
“We need to determine how to handle cyclers,” she said.
City Manager Regina McDuffie said a request to make changes to a road improvement project that has already been contracted would be considered a “major calamity” by DOT officials.
“It would be a major undertaking,” she said. “DOT is not committed to changing this project.”
Commissioner Vincent Williams said it may be too late to stop the work.
The city has the option to ask DOT to repave and restripe the road the way it is currently configured, but the city would have to pay to restripe the road if it decided to make changes in the future. And that could be costly, city engineer Garrow Alberson said.
Mayor Cornell Harvey said city officials need to be specific about the changes they’d like to see and know how long the project can be delayed when they meet with DOT officials.
“We may be able to alter certain features of it,” Harvey said. “The striping is what’s bothering us now.”
Cason made a motion to allow DOT to resurface and restripe the road the way it is currently configured. The motion failed to get a second.
“Can we all agree the diet plan is not what we want as a commission and as a community?” he asked. “Hopefully we can get this stopped.”
Commissioners agreed to oppose the road diet and ask for the extra time to meet with DOT officials.
“Where do we go from halting this?” Commissioner Felicia Harris asked. “We don’t want to stop something without a plan.”