Cook County bridge still in need of repair - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Cook County bridge still in need of repair

By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

COOK COUNTY, GA (WALB) - Commuters in rural Cook County are tired of waiting for bridge repairs that force them to detour many miles every day. 

One Bridge has been closed since the floods in April, and officials don't know when it will be repaired nor who will pay for it.

Nancy Goff, a Berrien County resident, named several reasons why the Judge Lott bridge needs to be repaired quickly.

"I have to go 15 miles out of the way just to go where I need to go," said Goff.  

Judge Lott Bridge is in Cook County but as soon as you cross it you're in Berrien County. Many people that use the bridge are farmers and elderly people that live in the area.

"I've got people who live in Lenox, Georgia and it won't take me but 10 minutes this a way where it takes 30 minutes to go the other direction because you're bouncing all over these roads," Goff.

Most of the back roads to bypass the bridge are dirt roads. Initially, officials did not know how extensive the damage was until the April flood waters receded.

Cook County is relying on its engineering firm to find the best way to repair the bridge. Local authorities must find the balance between funding and engineering.

FEMA had been evaluating Cook County roads until late June when the agency decided it could not fund the Judge Lott Bridge.

"They had done an initial evaluation of it and then when our engineering firm got involved we found additional damage and DOT had to come back out and reassess," said Bill Twomey,Cook County Manager.

The bridge is in the engineering phase. Cook County is waiting on the DOT to approve the engineering specs which includes lengthening the bridge.

"We've had the engineering or re-engineering in mind all along but they're have been delays in funding sources," said Twomey.

Once funding is decided, repairs will be extensive. 

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