Oglethorpe Bridge now Downtown Albany's only river crossing - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Oglethorpe Bridge now Downtown Albany's only river crossing

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By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany drivers are getting used to a downtown detour.

The DOT says the Broad Avenue Bridge isn't safe, and they had shut it down.

Friday was the first full day motorists had to deal with having only one downtown river crossing.

Some 10,000 vehicles a day cross the Broad Avenue Bridge, but right now, nothing is allowed on the bridge.

"I was surprised I didn't know," said Elizabeth Kegler, Albany.

"I wonder whether or not there's something structurally wrong with it," said Josh Fix, Albany.

Some drivers found that out Friday, as detour signs diverted them to the nearby Oglethorpe Bridge.

It was a bit busier than usual.

"Primarily it's going to be your morning hours around school time, your lunchtime hours then your evening hours when people are getting off from work," said Sgt. William Dowdell, Albany Police Department.

"I came this way to see the bridge because it was closed, to see what they were doing to it," said Uriel Joseph, Albany.

The 89-year old bridge closed Thursday after DOT divers inspected bridge footings and found major deterioration.

"It's a good thing they closed it, but there will be more traffic on Oglethorpe," said Joseph.

Police will be monitoring the traffic flow.

"Based upon what we're looking at we'll make recommendations to our higher powers and recommendations to the city staff and they'll determine exactly what course to take from that point," said Dowdell.

The drivers we talked to say, if it means safety, they don't mind having to put up with the extra traffic.

"I work at Albany State so I have to travel over there every day," said Fix.

"Nah I don't mind the extra traffic," said Joseph.

"It's a lot of traffic but it'll be safe," said Kegler.

APD said if you have to come this way, be understanding and let others merge.

"What people can do to help out is when they're coming off of those smaller streets that run into broad avenue is to go ahead and jump over to Oglethorpe ahead of time and not wait until the last moment," said  Dowdell

There is no real deterrent from keeping someone from crossing the Broad Avenue Bridge on foot or bike, but police say don't do it.

"If you're caught you could be ticket, and there is a possibility you'll be arrested and taken to jail," said Dowdell.

On Friday afternoon we found many pedestrians obeying that warning.

There's no guarantee the Broad Avenue Bridge will ever reopen.

City leaders are trying to figure out how much it will cost to fix the bridge.

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