Leaders question if Broad Avenue bridge is worth fixing - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Leaders question if Broad Avenue bridge is worth fixing

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - In a letter to local leaders, the D.O.T. Said the Bridge is in "Critical Condition, and no longer safe for either vehicle or pedestrian traffic. But fixing the nearly 89-year old bridge will be extremely expensive.

Georgia Department of Transportation officials say an underwater inspection Thursday found the Broad Avenue bridge is susceptible to a failure of the footing."

The letter says the inspectors found two types of deterioration on the footings in the Flint River, and that the bridge structure is "in critical condition."

City of Albany engineering officials are still trying to add up the cost of repairs.

"Initially it was four million. It may up to ten million dollars presently to repair it," City Manager Al Lott said.

The bridge handled ten thousand cars a day. Now city leaders have to decide if the need for the bridge is worth the cost.

"We are looking at how essential it is. Because there are certainly other requirements for our money," Lott said.

Albany First Responders say closing the bridge will be an issue they will have to deal with.

"To service Broadway, Mulberry, that area, we'll have to go across the Ogelthorpe Bridge. So it will add a little bit of time to it. Hopefully it's minimal," said Dougherty County Fire Chief James Carswell. 

A couple of years ago city leaders debated building a new bridge at Society Avenue to replace the Broad Avenue bridge, and that could be another alternative to repairing the 89 year old structure.

Would another alternative be more cost effective, and where would the money come from in tough economic times to pay for it, are issues state and city leaders are studying.

Georgia Transportation officials say they'll have to deal with environmental issues such as drainage off the top of the bridge before they even take bids on the rehab project.

The city and state both agree it will be many, many months before people cross the Broad Avenue bridge again... If they ever do.

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