The Valdosta Daily Times
The state and federal governments are preparing to spend $5.3 million to replace a 72-year-old bridge over the flood-prone Withlacoochee River on the state line between Lowndes County and Madison County, Fla., according to the Georgia Department of Transportation.
The current bridge, which connects Ga. 31 with Fla. 145, is a weight-restricted bridge, according to a Ga. DOT press release. The new bridge will be a half-mile span, taller and wider than the current bridge, the Ga. DOT says.
The Withlacoochee has not flooded over the bridge since 1948, but Fla. 145 has flooded several times in the last five years, said Jill Nagel, district communications officer for the Ga. DOT. During the major flooding of 2009, the river’s waters came up to the beams under the bridge.
The current bridge is used by roughly 5,000 vehicles a day, 12 percent of which is truck traffic, Nagel said. The new bridge, while still having two travel lanes, will have eight-foot-wide emergency lanes; it will be 780 feet long, 43 feet 6 inches wide and will be located west of the existing bridge, she said.
The entire bridge project will be 2,990 feet long, Nagel said.
The federal government is paying for 80 percent of the bridge replacement cost, while the state will pay the rest, she said.
Studies for replacing the bridge began in 2001, and the project should be completed by Dec. 31, 2014, Nagel said.
The current bridge will stay open until the new span is completed, she said.
Rogers Bridge Company Inc. of Atlanta will build the new bridge. Rogers Bridge turned in the low bid of $5,315,218.37, according to Ga. DOT documents.
Other contractors include Bly, Bly & Pittman Construction Co. of Conyers, Leon’s Fence & Guardrail, LLC of Lobeco, S.C., Martin-Pinero Construction Project Management of Atlanta, Middle Georgia Signs-Design Effex, Inc., of Cochran and South Georgia Erosion Control, LLC of Moultrie, documents show.