Completion of the Gainesville pedestrian bridge is being pushed back after the Georgia Department of Transportation issued new mandates for bridge requirements.
City officials, who originally anticipated bridge completion in September, now expect the bridge to be completed in early spring. That is if weather cooperates and the state DOT approves modifications to the bridge.
The bridge over Jesse Jewell Parkway will offer a walkway to connect downtown and midtown. It's one step toward the city's plan to redevelop and revive midtown.
The new regulations and delays that affect bridge builders across the state were in response to a bridge failure in Atlanta in August, according to a city of Gainesville press release.
Decorative fencing fell from the 17th Street Bridge onto the Downtown Connector. No one was injured in the mishap, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
However, it did prompt Georgia DOT to halt bridge construction until it studied the source of the problem, said Barclay Fouts, Gainesville project manager.
"Once the fence was halted, the contractor finished everything else on the bridge," Fouts said, including landscaping and painting.
Now, the state is requiring additional anchoring for the pedestrian bridge's fencing to avoid a failure similar to what happened in Atlanta.
Fencing on the bridge "will consist of a vertical post every two feet with a stainless steel square mesh between the posts," according to the city's press release.
Fouts said the project's contractor is proposing to install "through bolts" to fasten fencing to the concrete bridge, in addition to an epoxy adhesive.
If Georgia DOT accepts those modifications, the completion of the bridge will proceed once the weather is right.
"If we have some real cold spells it would hinder what we do," Fouts said.
Consistent temperatures above 40 degrees are needed to ensure the fence's adhesive sets correctly.
A specific date for completion and an estimation in the additional costs of delays and modifications are not available yet.