Local bridges get regular check-ups - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Local bridges get regular check-ups

August 2, 2007

Albany --  That Minneapolis bridge collapse may have you asking just how safe are the bridges you drive on everyday.  One major bridge over the Flint River in Albany has some deficiencies, but the Georgia Department of Transportation insists that it, and the other 9,000 bridges in the state are safe. 

Every bridge is inspected every two years, and older, distressed bridges are inspected annually.  

Thousands of motorists travel one of two bridges to get into downtown Albany daily, many never thinking twice about how safe those bridges are.

The bridges around here have held up through two floods," says motorist Toni Hall. 

If you stand in the middle of the Oglethorpe Avenue Bridge, like most, it shakes when trucks pass by, but that's no cause for concern.

"Each bridge is designed different and there has to be some movement at the bridge, it's just according to how long the bridge is and how long the spans are," says Craig Solomon of the Georgia Department of Transportation's Tifton office.

The Oglethorpe Avenue and Broad Avenue bridges are just two of thousands of bridges that get regular inspections by the DOT.

"Inspecting cracks, inspecting our joints, inspecting our plates that our beams sit on, inspecting our beams, guardrail, approach ramps coming to the road, our seals on the bridge, there's so many things that they inspect," says Solomon.

In fact, the Broad Avenue bridge is inspected more frequently because of a lower rating and it's on a list to be repaired. "There's a project in the next five years to rehab that bridge we're not replacing that bridge because the bridge is still, it may have some deficiencies but they're not deficiencies that are making the bridge structurally unsound," says Craig Solomon. 

Those deficiencies include old guard rails, but most motorists still have faith in the state to keep them safe.

"I know that they do their best to keep them in the best shape possible because they know with the risk of flooding that the Flint River has, it has climbed over its banks several times in the last several years so, I know that they do their best to keep it maintained and keep us safe," says Toni Hall.

 The average age for a bridge in Georgia is 36 years old.

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