In Effingham County, you guys are getting pretty good at driving in circles. Thank you for that. I hope you like it. Be patient if you don't. It takes a little bit of getting used to."DOT Commissioner Russell McMurry
ATLANTA — Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry is a mover and a shaker. He stressed the importance of mobility for people and products during Effingham Day at the Capitol on Jan. 28.
“In Effingham County, you guys are getting pretty good at driving in circles,” he joked. “Thank you for that. I hope you like it. Be patient if you don’t.
“It takes a little bit of getting used to.”
McMurry was referring to the traffic-easing roundabouts recently constructed in Guyton and at the intersection of Blue Jay Road and Hwy 17. One is also being built at the crossing of Ebenezer and Old August roads.
“Roundabouts are a great, effective way to traverse and move people efficiently and, number one, safely,” McMurry said. “You will see crash reductions going down where we have put roundabouts in.”
The Blue Jay Road-Hwy 17 roundabout is temporary.
“I think it’s provided some immediate help but we have a bigger one planned there,” McMurry said. “We have a lot going on in and around the county.”
McMurry pointed specifically to the Effingham Parkway, a 6.5-mile project to be delivered by local government. The effort to reduce congestion on Hwy 21 will stretch from Blue Jay Road to Hwy 30 in Chatham County.
“It’s a vision to move people and commerce through the county in a new kind of way,” he said.
McMurry said the state has funding in place for many of its transportation needs. Georgia has the nation’s 10th-largest transportation system, he said.
“The budget is good thanks to some legislation back in 2015 that has allowed the Department of Transportation to work on projects like bridges, replacing local bridges especially,” he said. “As we know, agribusiness is our number one economy in this state and so one of our missions is to replace city- and county-owned bridges so that they are structurally sound so that freight or agribusiness products can travel across them.
“I don’t have to tell you guys anything about freight and freight logistics where you live and that continues to play a big role in Georgia’s competitive edge of being — six years in a row — the number one state in which to do business.”
McMurry said a couple area bridges are the DOT radar, including one on Hwy 119 about 13 miles south of Brooklet over the Ogeechee River.
McMurry added that Effingham County and its municipalities will receive more than $1.1 million in road maintenance grants.
“That’s about three or four percent more than last year so we continue to see that raised, which is very important because, locally, you can solve your transportation needs better than we can often,” he said. “That’s a state-of-good-repair kind of funding.”
“Transportation is local,” McMurry added. “It’s all relevant to where you are.”