Media release: The Georgia DOT is holding an open house this evening at the Rome Civic Center from 5 until 7 p.m. to discuss proposed plans to replace the Turner McCall Boulevard bridge over the Etowah River and Norfolk Southern Railroad.
The replacement bridge will include four lanes of traffic plus additional width for turn lanes. Engineers determined after a routine inspection that the current bridge that was built in 1956 needed to be replaced, and the decision was made to extend the turn lanes across the bridge to facilitate staged construction and help reduce congestion.
“When the determination was made to replace the bridge, we looked at how we could also improve traffic at the same time,” said GDOT District Six Engineer Grant Waldrop. “The additional bridge width allows for the turn lanes to be extended, which will help to move traffic across Turner McCall Boulevard.”
The project is projected to cost $28.5 million with construction expected to take two years when it gets under way in summer 2022.
Attendees of the open house can review the project, ask questions, and express any concerns they might have about the proposed improvements.
“We look forward to hearing from the public,” Waldrop said. “Their input on this project is important to us as we move forward.”
From our earlier reports:
The current bridge, known for its shimmying when larger trucks cross it, is deemed as being in “fair” condition by the state. It rests on an “unknown” foundation, has “moderate cracking” and other aging issues.
Replacing it will mean a short-term traffic nightmare as north-south flow will be restricted throughout the duration of the project. Translation: One lane in each direction during some phases of the project. In all, the bridge is less than a third of a mile but the area of concern will be from Riverbend/Hicks Drive (Home Depot/Burger King) to East First Street (near CVS). DOT will be using “accelerated” construction techniques.
According to the DOT project summary:
- The existing facility consists of a four-lane urban section (two 11-12-foot lanes in each direction), with turn lanes at the intersections. The proposed project will provide two 11-12-foot lanes in each direction with turn lanes.
- The proposed bridge would replace the existing bridge with a bridge approximately 621 feet long and 108 feet wide. Traffic will be maintained onsite throughout construction.
- Accelerated Bridge Construction techniques are to be implemented during construction to reduce construction time. Lighting will be included with the project.
So why the replacement? Safety concerns. According to the state:
Can’t attend tonight? Another option: Area residents are invited to fill out comment forms at the public hearing or else mail them to Georgia DOT. You’ll find a copy of one of those forms here, complete with mailing instructions. Please scroll down to the last page.