Road construction in metro Atlanta understandably gets a lot of attention. When the Georgia Department of Transportation spends $800 million here and $834 million there, it affects hundreds of thousands of commuters.
But GDOT has also been making smaller investments that make a big difference across the state. One example: It has replaced 24 local bridges across the state over the last two years. The price tag: $39.6 million.
The money came from the 2015 law that raised gas taxes in Georgia for road and bridge construction. A small portion was set aside to replace local bridges off the state highway system. The state awarded five contracts to three firms to replace “bundles” of bridges that were relatively close to each other.
Work began in April 2017. Since then, GDOT has replaced 24 local bridges in 24 largely rural counties: Atkinson, Bacon, Ben Hill, Coweta, Crawford, Elbert, Grady, Greene, Harris, Hart, Jackson, Laurens, Meriwether, Morgan, Pike, Stephens, Telfair, Tift, Treutlen, Walton, Ware, Wayne, Wheeler and Wilkes.
Some of the replaced bridges were closed or had weight restrictions. The new bridges can accommodate school buses, emergency vehicles, farm trucks and other vehicles, GDOT says.
The work was done with funds set aside for GDOT’s fiscal year 2016. More bridge replacements are in the works with money from subsequent years.