An explosion was seen rocking the old Clarks Bridge Tuesday as part of the Georgia Department of Transportation’s dismantling of the Lake Lanier structure.
“The blast was successful and a large group of DOT workers was cheering with the success,” said Drew Alexander, who stopped to witness the event and take pictures.
DOT spokesman Mohamed Arafa said the bridge deck and beam were removed over a few weeks, and the cap and column was removed down to a certain point above the lake.
The blast eliminated the remaining portions of the column and footing that was still in the lake, according to Arafa, and the contractor will now begin removal of debris from the bottom of the lake.
Dec. 31 is the official completion date.
The demo work wraps up an overall $8.7 million bridge replacement project that started in late 2013.
The new bridge on Clarks Bridge Road/Ga. 284 opened in June, but demolition couldn’t start until at least Sept. 1, outside the breeding and nesting season of phoebes and swallows.
The old bridge was replaced because it no longer met design standards.
The new bridge has two 12-foot travel lanes and an 8-foot bike lane/shoulder in each direction. It is 952 feet long and 40 feet wide. The old bridge is 834 feet long and nearly 24 feet wide.
The project also involved construction of a new pedestrian tunnel under Ga. 284. The tunnel opened earlier this year.
The tunnel is expected to especially benefit large crowds at the Lake Lanier Olympic Venue, which is marketing itself for sporting and non-sporting events alike.