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Jerry Jackson Bridge being inspected for potential repairs

POSTED: March 15, 2013 12:40 a.m.
Shannon Casas/The Times

Road crew members inspect the underside of the Jerry Jackson Bridge on Dawsonville Highway looking for whether repairs need to be done.

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Two years ago, temporary repairs were made to the westbound bridge on Ga. 53/Dawsonville Highway crossing the Chattahoochee River portion of Lake Lanier.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is working to develop a more lasting solution, one that may extend beyond the ever-cracking driving surface.

Using a piece of equipment known as a “snooper” that can carry a person under the structure, workers are examining the bridge top to bottom.

The Jerry Jackson Bridge, as it also is known, was built in 1956, as one of the original structures on Lake Lanier. It is 1,216 feet long and 31 feet wide.

“Once the inspection is complete and data (are) reviewed, a (repair) plan will be developed,” said Billy Cantrell, district maintenance engineer.

Officials at least know the plan “will require the driving surface be replaced, to eliminate the (potholes forming) on the driving surface now,” he added.

The Ga. 53 bridges, eastbound and westbound, are both heavily used, as they serve as a main connection into Gainesville from northwest Hall.

Motorists face potential delays while the inspection is taking place.

One of two lanes will be closed 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through March 27, weather permitting. No lane closures will occur on the eastbound bridge.

“You may not see much happening while you drive across the bridge, but the inspection is going on the underside of the bridge,” Cantrell said.

Teri Pope, DOT district spokeswoman, said a crew also plans to repair the driving surface again next week.

The DOT hopes to award a repair contract in December, with work starting in early 2014.

Unlike some other aging bridges on Lanier, such as the two-lane Browns Bridge on Ga. 369/Browns Bridge Road, Jerry Jackson is not scheduled for replacement.

The east and west bridges combined have four lanes, so “there’s not a capacity need there,” Pope said.

“This repair plan should hopefully allow the bridge to last for several decades, if not longer,” she added.


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