Historic bridge keeps standing despite numerous hits

Q: I keep hearing about the covered bridge that keeps getting hit. What is so special about this bridge?

A: The historic Concord Road covered bridge in Smyrna, which spans Nickajack Creek, was built in 1872.

The bridge, which is 131.7 feet long, 16 feet wide and has 7 foot high clearance, has been hit at least nine times since late 2017.

According to Georgia.com, “Concord bridge has become the focus of the Concord Covered Bridge Historic Area. An old railroad bed, including a few bridges, in the area has been converted to a dedicated bike trail as part of the PATH Foundation’s Silver Comet Trail.”

This area also has remnants from Ruff’s Mill, the scene of a Civil War battle, according to the website. Ruins of the dam are still upstream of the bridge as well as parts of the grist mill.

The Concord Covered Bridge Historic District was created by Cobb County in 1986, the county’s first historic district. The bridge is the only covered bridge remaining in the county, still open to automobile traffic, according to the organization. Traffic counts show it as the busiest covered bridge in the state.

“There is said to have been a bridge at this location since the 1840’s, probably a flat-decked bridge initially before it was covered to be better protected from the elements,” according to the historic district. “Before a bridge was built, travelers likely crossed the Nickajack river at a fork a little bit upstream near the present-day Silver Comet trail crossing.”

The bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

The bridge re-opened after four months of renovations in December 2017. Cobb County commissioners OK’d the $802,959 revamp of the bridge in May funded by the 2016 SPLOST, or Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, the AJC reported in 2017.

During the makeover, crews replaced the bridge’s decaying siding and shingles, added structural supports and repainted the classic tourist attraction.

Workers in 2009 installed metal beams, which look like a giant staple at the entrance of the bridge, to warn drivers of the seven-foot height limit, but the county reports that the bridge still gets hit about once a month.

Eight of the nine drivers who hit the bridge since the renovation have been charged $400 and $600 to repair the beams; one was a hit-and-run collision, the AJC previously reported.

Directions: From Atlanta, take I-75 north to I-285 west. Take Exit 15 (South Cobb Drive), and go 7 miles to Smyrna and 2 1/2 miles southwest on Concord Road.

Actual Factual Georgia runs on Sundays. If you’re new in town or have questions about this special place we call home, ask us. E-mail your request to atlactualfact@gmail.com.

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