About 4,000 Civil War re-enactors have signed up to participate in the Sept. 19-22 re-enactment of the Battle of Chickamauga at Mountain Cove Farms in Walker County, Ga.
County Coordinator David Ashburn hopes the re-enactors and spectators en route to the rural site pay attention to road signs -- and not their GPS navigation systems -- to get there. That's because GPS may lead them to an unfinished bridge on state Route 136 over West Chickamauga Creek, he said. Kensington Road also is closed near the bridge.
"We'll have big [directional] signs up throughout the county," Ashburn said. "You hope people pay attention."
Drivers from the west on Route 136 can avoid the bridge repair work by heading south on state Route 193, he said. Drivers from the west on Route 136 can avoid it by heading south on state Route 341.
John Culpepper, the city manager of Chickamauga who's also a Civil War re-enactor, is coordinator of the battle's 150th anniversary re-enactment at Mountain Cove Farms.
"It just makes it a little more confusing as how to get down there," Culpepper said. "We're going to have troopers at each intersection. It'll be OK."
The bridge repair was supposed to be finished by the end of July, but construction was delayed because a large Tennessee Valley Authority electrical transmission line couldn't be moved quickly. The Georgia Department of Transportation revised the bridge completion date to Jan. 31, 2014.
GDOT found the old bridge to be structurally deficient and functionally obsolete.
The new $1.7 million bridge, supported by six thick columns sunk into the creek bed, is designed to handle heavy traffic because Route 136 is a truck route.
Other advantages it will have over the old bridge, which was knocked down and hauled away, include shoulders more than 6 feet wide, compared to the old bridge's 2-foot-wide shoulders.
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.