Missing bridge pits farmers against commuters - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Missing bridge pits farmers against commuters

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April 30, 2003

(Hahira-AP) -- A closed bridge in south Georgia is putting the capability of two different ways of life to the test. The Franks Creek Bridge on Interstate 75 in north Lowndes County has been closed for six months for repairs. That forces the farmers to use nearby U.S. 41, parallel to I-75, to move tractors and other equipment through Hahira to another bridge across the Interstate.

At less than 20 miles per hour, dozens of cars and impatient drivers trail behind, unable to pass on the busy two-lane highway. It's a clash of cultures that pits the explosion of housing developments north of Valdosta against the once-dominant agricultural way of life.

It has been that way since October 23rd, when the boom of a hydraulic excavator carried on the back of a tractor-trailer on I-75 hit the bridge.

Northbound traffic was re-routed seven miles up U.S. 41 for more than 30 hours while Department of Transportation workers removed the unstable span.

Officials say the situation will not be alleviated anytime soon. The best estimate is March 2004.

posted at 11:35AM by dave.miller@walb.com