An aging bridge over a key East Hall artery — one that leads to East Hall Middle School — is scheduled to close Monday as work begins on a replacement structure.
The new $1.2 million bridge on Joe Chandler Road over the North Oconee River, between Old Cornelia Highway and East Hall Road, is expected to open at the end of July, Hall County officials have said.
School traffic should be OK on Monday, as officials are “planning to close (the bridge) shortly after 9 a.m. to allow (morning school) bus traffic to end,” Hall spokeswoman Katie Crumley said last week.
East Hall Middle is off Joe Chandler and East Hall roads. East Hall High School is farther north, off East Hall Road and Old Cornelia Highway.
“The only impact (from the bridge closure) will likely be to parents and students who drive cars to and from schools,” Hall County Schools operations director Jewel Armour said. “The only school buses we (have allowed) to cross the (old) bridge is one small van-type bus that is within the allowed weight restrictions.”
County Engineer Kevin McInturff has said the county is “replacing this bridge due to the lower tonnage ratings.”
“Typically, (ratings for) these older bridges are lowered a little bit yearly over time,” he said. “This bridge is now at a rating where we need to go ahead and move forward with replacement.”
Hall officials have suggested motorists use nearby Broome Road as a detour. Broome Road is just south of Joe Chandler Road and also connects Old Cornelia Highway to East Hall Road.
The county’s special purpose local option sales tax revenue is paying for the project.
In January, the Hall County Board of Commissioners had talked about possibly packaging the project with the much-anticipated Tumbling Creek Road bridge project between Gainesville and Oakwood.
But county staff said timing would be an issue.
“We were really trying to get this (Joe Chandler bridge) done in the summer while school is out. This is a school route,” said Ken Rearden, Hall’s public works and public utilities director, at the time.
“And we’re looking at October getting (the) Tumbling Creek (project) out for bids.”