Posted on October 9, 2023
After a round of community conversations for the Georgia Department of Transportation, things are getting less complicated for those who travel on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.
GDOT, the Coast Guard and Prince Contracting were planning to intermittently close the waterway so they could demolish the existing Islands Expressway Drawbridge.
They postponed the closures and drew up a new plan after hearing concerns from boaters.
“I feel like the whole process was handled well. They’ve been great to work with and helping us get everything worked out to benefit all parties,” said Bailey Scarboro.
Scarboro pulls double duty on the water. He works as a port captain for colonial oil and hits the water on his boat during his free time.
He said GDOT’s initial plan for letting vessels on the water during construction wasn’t the best, especially for businesses like the oil company.
“It was very unfair. It was just 12 hours of daylight transit per week. A group of us got together, along with the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association there, and we submitted some other proposals,” said Scarboro
GDOT is now planning to give boaters more daylight transit hours each week.
“The waterway will be open from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. That’s only for boats 40 feet or less. Then from 12 noon to 2 p.m., it will be completely open for all boats,” said Jill Nagel.
The schedule switches between the two limitations again twice in the later evenings; Nagel with GDOT says it’s because of the need for access.
Wally Moran, President of the Cruisers Rights Network of North America, was another one of the boaters who expressed concerns about GDOT’s initial closure plan.
Monday, he said, “GDOT was amazing. Listened to us, recognized we had valid concerns and acted on them, to everyone’s benefit. I know he put a lot of hours into making this all happen and directing everyone to a solution that everyone – recreational boaters, commercial interests and the construction firm and the State of Georgia can live with. You don’t see that kind of a solution very often.”
The demolition of the old Islands Expressway Drawbridge is set to be complete by late November.
The new Island Expressway bridges are set to be built by 2025.