Glynn County announced on Friday that it will close the intersection of Ocean Boulevard and East Beach Causeway for nearly two months while contractors replace the intersection with a roundabout.
The intersection will be closed Monday through Nov. 2, according to a news release from the county. Drivers are asked to detour onto Arnold Road. According to the release, the intersection is scheduled to reopen before Georgia/Florida football weekend.
Some members of the public and the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax 2016 Citizens’ Oversight Committee opposed the construction of a roundabout at East Beach and Ocean Boulevard, as well as the planned construction of one at the intersection of East Beach and Demere Road.
Voters approved the one percent sales tax during the 2016 general election. The SPLOST 2016 ballot item did not specify the money would go towards the construction of two roundabouts, but they were included on a list of planned projects disseminated to the public before the vote.
The SPLOST oversight committee opposed the two projects via a unanimous motion to recommend the county commission reconsider them, as well as comments in the committee’s first report on SPLOST expenditures calling their necessity into question.
The decision to replace the two intersections with roundabouts was informed by a 2015 traffic study, which some members of the public and the committee have argued is incomplete. The claim was denied by members of county staff.
The committee has also argued that, even if the intersections would be better served by roundabouts, the money can be better spent elsewhere.
SPLOST money can’t be moved around freely, but in some cases, money set aside for a certain purpose can be used for other projects.
Most commissioners have maintained that, while they may not be bound by law to construct the roundabout, the commission did promise the public it would do so prior to SPLOST 2016’s passage.
At the committee’s last meeting, Public Works Director Dave Austin said the new configuration will most benefit drivers on Ocean Boulevard.
Currently, drivers on East Beach Causeway do not have to stop at the intersection, only those on Ocean Boulevard.
Ocean Boulevard doesn’t see enough traffic at that intersection to warrant putting stop signs on East Beach Causeway, he said, nor does it warrant a traffic signal.
A roundabout is the best option for that intersection, he said, as it will both slow down traffic and make it safer for drivers approaching on Ocean Boulevard.