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DOT to unveil plans for replacing Ga. 369 bridges
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New bridges

The Georgia Department of Transportation has scheduled a public information meeting on three Ga. 369 bridges over Lake Lanier in Hall and Forsyth counties:

When: 5-7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Little Mill Elementary School, 6800 Little Mill Road, Cumming

If you can’t attend: Those interested can send comments to Glenn Bowman, State Environmental Administrator — Georgia DOT, 600 W. Peachtree St., 16th Floor, Atlanta, GA 30308.

Deadline: All comments will be considered in the development of the final project design and must be received by June 1.

The Georgia Department of Transportation will be rolling out plans next week on replacing three bridges on Ga.

369/Browns Bridge Road, including the heavily traveled green truss bridge connecting Hall and Forsyth counties.

A public information meeting/open house is set for 5-7 p.m. Tuesday at Little Mill Elementary School at 6800 Little Mill Road, off Browns Bridge Road.

DOT engineers and consultants will be available to discuss the proposals. A formal presentation isn’t planned, said Teri Pope, the DOT’s Hall County-based spokeswoman.

The Hall-Forsyth bridge, known simply as Brown’s Bridge, crosses the Chattahoochee River portion of Lake Lanier. The other two bridges are at Six Mile Creek and Two Mile Creek.

All three bridges were built in 1955 and have average daily traffic of 13,100 vehicles, according to DOT statistics. Brown’s Bridge, at 1,372 feet, is by far the longest of the three structures.

Project costs and schedules are “being finalized now,” Pope said Wednesday. “We will have those details at the open house.”

The new bridges “will be built parallel to the existing structure, so that traffic can run on the existing bridge the whole time the new one is being built,” Pope said.

“Then, we’ll shift the roadway over to meet the new bridge, and traffic will use the new bridge and the old bridge will be removed.”

Four-lane bridges aren’t in the works because there are no imminent plans to widen Ga. 369.

“If you put a four-lane bridge out there, (motorists) would be zooming to try to pass on that bridge” before the road goes back to two lanes, Pope said.

The DOT is “building parallel bridge structures, especially in a situation like this. When the road is widened, new lanes for a bridge will come, but they will likely come as a separate structure,” she added.

Hall County planners originally considered a proposed widening of Ga. 369 between McEver Road and Forsyth County as one of the regional projects to be funded by the 1 percent transportation sales tax, which will go to voters July 31.

Government leaders then decided in August to pull it in favor of a South Hall project. They are talking about it again, this time in the vein of 25 percent local discretion funding that would come from the sales tax.

The widening project would be expensive, but Srikanth Yamala, transportation planning manager for the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization, said in April that officials might be able to leverage state and federal dollars for the project. Pope said that one of the key upgrades with the new Ga. 369 bridges is that they will feature paved shoulders of 8-10 feet in width.

“Right now, there’s like a 2-foot area between the travel lanes and the edge of the bridge,” she said.

Wider shoulders will mean that “if your car breaks down or you’re in a crash, or if you wanted to walk across the bridge, you could do those things without getting in the travel lanes,” Pope said.

Also, the bridges will be sturdier.

“Our chicken trucks can carry up to 40 tons. That’s 80,000 pounds apiece,” Pope said. “That’s a whole lot different from in 1955.”

One other upgrade is fewer columns going into Lake Lanier.

“Boaters, lake lovers, environmentalists all love that,” Pope said.

 

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