Digging Deeper: Broad Avenue Bridge Plans - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Digging Deeper: Broad Avenue Bridge Plans

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Design plans for the Broad Avenue Bridge are in the final stages and the current bridge could come down just after the first of the year.

Environmental issues including an endangered muscle species under the bridge have held up the project but a new design hopes to avoid those issues.

It's taken two years for engineers to get a design they think will work. It avoids issues they may have with the Army Corps of Engineers, but not disturbing the Flint River, the problem will be getting this bridge torn down.

Engineers and a citizens advisory committee went through 11 different designs for the new Broad Avenue Bridge before getting the right one.

"It was all the way from a very simplistic bridge like we have at Oglethorpe and Oakridge and the Bypass, the typical concrete type bridge, to a very elaborate suspension bridge," said Bruce Maples, Albany City Engineer.

Here it is. The artist rendering shows a bridge that spans the Flint River with just a single arch, avoiding the Flint River altogether.

"Anytime you drop something within the waters in the state of Georgia of course the federal government becomes involved it becomes a far more complicated regulatory and permitting process," said Wes Smith Albany Assistant City Manager.

By using this style of bridge, engineers avoid that, digging deeper we learned that increases the price, but avoids a large environmental concern.

"One of the biggest issues has been the environmental part of it and it's the purple bank climber muscles which is a threatened species and the clear span will provide no impact whatsoever," said Maples.

With the pilings on dry land this new bridge will be taller than the one that's currently there.

"It will meet the requirements for the flooding that took place in 1994, so it will be a passable bridge when its completed," said Maples.

The hardest part will be tearing down the current bridge without dropping it into the Flint River. Engineers are working on how that will be done, a longer process that will like take two years once work begins.

Engineers say this bridge will stand over 44 feet above the water, at that height it would again be the only bridge passable if we got another flood like the one seen here in 1994.

The Broad Avenue Bridge is nearly 90 years old. It was closed in February 12, 2009 because of deterioration of the bridge footings. Contractors say they're on track for bids to be let on this project in November. Utility lines on the current bridge will likely be moved under the riverbed before the bridge can be brought down.

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