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Helens new bridge opens for holiday walkers
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The new 8-foot-wide pedestrian bridge in Helen is now open, just in time for Memorial Day weekend. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Although many construction projects tend to run over schedule, there’s at least one in Helen that took less time to complete than expected.

Teri Pope, spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation, says the town’s new pedestrian bridge opened Thursday in time for Memorial Day weekend.

Construction of the 154-foot-long walkway began last month and was expected to run through the end of June.

"The city really wanted it open for the holiday weekend," Pope said.

"The contractor worked very quickly and everything came together (Thursday) when the last sections of handrail were installed."

The 8-foot-wide bridge is an addition to an older, narrower version on the Main Street vehicle bridge over the Chattahoochee River in downtown Helen.

"Memorial Day Weekend really kicks off the summer season for us, so we were really hoping that the bridge would be finished in time," said Jerry Elkins, Helen city manager.

"If the weather holds up, we’re expecting that this will be a big weekend for us."

City officials say an additional pedestrian bridge was needed because of the high volume of weekend foot traffic in the Alpine village, home to the Oktoberfest celebration in the fall.

Although the bridge officially opened to the public Friday, city officials are planning a dedication ceremony, but no date has been set.

The project cost around $330,000, with the cost split between the state DOT and Helen. Funds from a 1-cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax were used to pay the city’s portion.

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