State Patrol blocking access to mainland Glynn County, residents say

An ivy-laden tree crashed across Old Jesup Road in Brunswick overnight. Saturday morning neighbors were gathering to remove trees from the roadway, saying they weren’t sure when cleanup crews coudl show up. (Ben Brasch / AJC)

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An ivy-laden tree crashed across Old Jesup Road in Brunswick overnight. Saturday morning neighbors were gathering to remove trees from the roadway, saying they weren’t sure when cleanup crews coudl show up. (Ben Brasch / AJC)

Even though local authorities have declared it safe for residents to return to the mainland portion of Glynn County and assess the damage left by Hurricane Matthew, the Georgia State Patrol is continuing to block access to the county, a Glynn commissioner said Saturday afternoon.

A Facebook post from Commissioner Dale Provezano says: “All roads and bridges needed to be checked before the masses began driving over them. Glynn County pulled those checkpoints at 11 a.m. (Saturday) because we were satisfied that the roads were not a problem on the mainland … including Brunswick.

“However, the State Patrol was under orders not to allow any travel into Glynn County until the all-clear had been given by the GDOT bridge inspectors. The governor’s office told us we would get the all clear at 1 p.m. As of this posting (at 2:30 p.m.) the GSP was still stopping people, even though GDOT has cleared the bridges.”

The post notes that St. Simons and Sea Island continue to be closed to the public.

Efforts to reach the State Patrol Saturday afternoon were not immediately successful.

Less than three hours after it went up, Provezano’s post had more 285 likes, 103 comments and 327 shares.

“We are trying to get this large mass of bureaucracy moving quickly,” he wrote. “Plus we have so many moving pieces,” he wrote.

Efforts to fix the damage left by Matthew went on even as the storm raged.

“The amount of trees downed is incredible and the number of power lines down is worse. We are working to clear as fast as we can, but these are large trees and we have to coordinate with Ga Power,” Provenzano wrote.

He said he doesn’t expect islanders to get back home before Monday.

“Even after we open the island, it could be days before you have power and water/sewer. So if you don’t have to be back, take another day or 2 of vacation.”

But he had good news.

“After touring some of the Island, there is very little structural damage. Please take a deep breath. The fact the storm moved 45 miles off shore saved us from a lot of destruction. We only saw hurricane force winds of 75-90 mph for 3 hours. The storm surge was prevalent, but came on a low tide, and the wave action was half what was projected, due to the storm being off shore.”

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