IF YOU GO
What: Informational meeting about SR 299 bridge replacement over I-24
When: 5-7 p.m. Dec. 3
Where: North Georgia Worship Center, 23 Bishop Road, Wildwood, GA 30757
The Georgia Department of Transportation plans to replace the aging State Route 299 bridge over Interstate 24 in Dade County.
In one weekend.
Instead of dragging construction-related traffic delays out for six months, the state agency plans to hire a contractor who will prepare the bridge supports and deck without disrupting traffic.
Then, on some Friday in late fall 2014 or early spring 2015, the bridge will close to SR 299 traffic. The new, reinforced concrete deck will be slid onto the new substructure and secured. Then, 56 hours after the bridge's closure, it will reopen to traffic. During the work, traffic will still flow below the bridge on I-24 -- though it may be slowed.
"The bridge will only be closed for one weekend," said project manager Andrew Hoenig, who's with the transportation agency's Office of Innovative Program Delivery. "There's less pain and suffering for everyone -- that's the idea."
"This is actually Georgia's first one that we're doing like this," Hoenig said. Other states that have used "accelerated bridge construction," he said, include New York, Nevada and Utah.
Hoenig said the bridge needs replacement because the concrete deck is coming apart and there are holes in it. Rebar, iron reinforcement bars inside the concrete, is showing, he said.
SR 299 is entirely inside Dade County, and it's heavily used by trucks that exit I-24 to reach truck stops on SR 299, County Executive Ted Rumley said.
"That's where all the truck stops are," Rumley said. "Traffic is always a problem."
Rumley hadn't heard the state planned to close SR 299 only for one weekend to replace the bridge.
"I'm amazed," he said.
The federal government will fund 95 percent of the $4 million replacement cost, Hoenig said. The bridge will remain two lanes, he said, though the shoulders may be widened.
"We're not putting a sidewalk there," Hoenig added.
The state transportation agency will hold an information meeting about the project on Dec. 3 near the bridge at the North Georgia Worship Center at 23 Bishop Road.
Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at email@example.com or 423-757-6651.
Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.