By Alton Mitchell
The Chambers County Commission is looking for ways to ease traffic congestion near Huguley Elementary School. While looking for ways several representative from county departments and the Board of Education have come together with a plan that may ease congestion during key drop-off times at the school.
A widening project is planned in the near future for the area of Phillips Road near the school, but ahead of that project taking shape officials are looking to ease traffic in the present time frame. County Engineer Josh Harvill explained to County Commissioners on Monday that a plan has been put in place that would restrict turns to nearby streets during key drop-off and pickup hours at the school. The time when peak congestion occurs at the school.
Officials including County Engineer Harvill, Sheriff Sid Lockhart, Principal Benji Mitchum, Major Terry Wood, and Dr. Kelli Hodge are just some of the names that have looked at the plan and believe it may be the best short-term fix to the traffic congestion issues faced at the school.
In an effort to ease congestion on the roadway the plan calls for the restriction of turns from Phillips Road motorist onto Cusseta Road and also 32nd Street SW. The restriction of turns will not be full day change, but only during the peak hours which are planned to be 7:00 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
County Commissioner Debbie Wood expressed some concern with the plan. Wood was worried about the impact it would play on residents that live in the area and the plan creating a requirement that would cause them to drive further to make turns onto streets near their home. Woods recommended that residents should be made aware of the change and its potential impact before it was approved. The recommendation resulted in Commissioners voting in favor of holding a public hearing for residents to provide input into the change.
A date for that hearing has not yet been set. Commissioner David Eastridge has hopes the meeting can be held nearby at the school soon. If the plan is approved and put in place the County is ready to move forward by providing new signs to the area. The Chambers County Sheriff’s Department has also noted it will station at least three deputies at the intersections during the initial days of the traffic pattern change to ensure compliance. A possible date of the change was mentioned as April 30th, but that may be adjusted pending the outcome of the hearing.