When the Olive Garden opened this year, the traffic in that area of St. Augustine became even more congested than it has been for some time. In order for the congestion to be relieved, city officials have been negotiating with numerous entities to get a traffic light at the intersection of Twin Street.
First, the city had to obtain permission from the Georgia Department of Transportation, which took a while. Then they had to negotiate with all of the property owners in the area for right of ways, etc. And then they had to wait for all the contracts to be signed, which was just completed last week. The project was bid out in December by Valdosta City Council, and it should begin construction within the next week or two.
The plans call for the drainage ditch beside Starbucks to be filled in and Twin Street will be straightened, with a light added at the intersection. The signals are all supposed to be synchronized so that there are enough delays to allow customers a chance to get in and out of the businesses in that area without facing a wall of vehicles. Hopefully, the improvement will also allow for some relief for Clubhouse Drive.
In order for the light to stay permanently, the traffic count in that area has to go up a bit, but that shouldn’t be an issue once the Drury Inn is complete and drivers stop avoiding that area because of the traffic.
Exciting growth for Valdosta but hopefully planned well enough to ensure that existing businesses are able to thrive alongside the new ones.
Alas, ask and ye shall receive. I have from the highest authority in the city that the Publix on Inner Perimeter is starting back up again with an eye towards a first quarter 2013 opening date. The rain delayed the concrete pouring a bit, but I have been assured that there are no issues and we will soon see lots of activity on the site.
That is one busy area with the new construction across the street on HeritageBank of the South’s new main branch, plus the renovations to the former Ryan’s. The building will soon house Mama June’s Home Cooking buffet on Inner Perimeter, and was a beehive of activity all week. Painters, electricians, cleaning crews, and various other workers swarmed the building to get it ready for an end of the month opening date, which will also signal a closing date for the Smok’n Pig Express on Bemiss. No word yet on what might be moving in there.
The Goodyear on Bemiss Road has closed suddenly. Does anyone know what might have happened? I’ve heard from some upset customers, but I believe that the Goodyear on Baytree is still open.
I understand that construction started recently on the Fellowship Home at Brookside’s expansion The new construction includes private rooms, a new courtyard, etc., plus renovations to existing spaces and more parking. The new area will house a special unit for individuals with memory impairment and should be open around the first of the year.
Kirkland’s on St. Augustine is not yet open but looks like it is getting close, and I’ve been told it may open by mid-month.
The former buildings housing the Boardwalk and the Main Squeeze on Baytree were demolished this week to make way for a new Dollar General (Family Dollar? I’ve been told both). Main Squeeze has moved to Gornto Road in the strip center across from the theatres and the Boardwalk is moving across the street to the center beside Slap Daddy’s. Beall’s Outlet in the Winn Dixie shopping plaza on North Ashley Street is undergoing a major addition to the store.
It looks like Studio 51 restaurant downtown on North Ashley is closed, not sure why.
The grand opening of the parking garage at SGMC is set for July 31, which will alleviate a lot of the congestion around the hospital. It’s exciting to drive by the construction on Norman Drive and see the area where Academy Sports is going, plus how far along the new Gander Mountain is. I’m so glad they did a double edifice, with one facing Norman Drive and one facing I-75. Passing motorists will be able to see what it actually is, with really attractive signage, vs. a blank wall of the back of a store.
That’s it for this week, but if there’s something I missed, please let me know!