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IDA wants to get on the road for tract access
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Getting in and out, and through, the easternmost parcel of the Research Forest Tract is becoming a focal point for the Effingham Industrial Development Authority.

IDA members met with representatives of Savannah engineering firm Hussey, Gay, Bell and DeYoung to discuss a transportation plan for the Research Forest Tract — and specifically, how to get vehicles into and through Tract D. Tract D is considered to be the Research Forest Tract’s most readily developable parcel.

“We want to know what it’s going to take to get in there for the first 10 years,” IDA CEO John Henry said.

The IDA had a similar plan put together for its holdings at the intersection of I-16 and Old River Road.

“We looked at 30 years out what the number of trip generations would be,” Henry said. “We don’t want to have to build a superhighway today for 10 dump trucks.

The IDA and Hussey, Gay, Bell and DeYoung will look at potential access points from Highway 21 into Tract D. The plan will look at how best to get into the tract and, according to the potential and desired development in it, how best to move that traffic around.

IDA representatives met with the county transportation advisory board last week to discuss the plan. Hussey, Gay, Bell and DeYoung collected data on the Highway 21 corridor and on McCall Road, which borders the western edge of Tract D. Traffic engineer Candace Mitchell also wanted to know the kind of development the IDA has in mind for the tract, noting the traffic loads are different for commercial development as opposed to industrial uses. Mitchell added they can come up with a 20-year forecast of traffic patterns, including minimum turning lanes and traffic signals.

“It varies on how many trucks and cars we see coming in and out of those roadways,” she said.

Henry said Tract D won’t be used for heavy industry or for warehouse and distribution services. The IDA was looking at a five- to 10-year plan for access into Tract D but hadn’t addressed getting a short-term road in there to begin work to make the tract ready.

“We need a two-lane road from (Highway) 21 into there now,” IDA Chairman Dennis Webb said, “as quickly as we can achieve it.”

Getting that access from 21 could be crucial since it will keep potential short-term heavy use traffic off McCall.

“There are people who are going to want to get in there without having to worry about hitting a mailbox,” Henry said.

Engineers will meet with Rincon to get their feedback on access points, Henry added.