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Joe Chandler Road Bridge open to traffic
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The new bridge along Joe Chandler Road in Gainesville is now open two weeks ahead of schedule. - photo by David Barnes

The new Joe Chandler Road Bridge in East Hall is open to traffic.

The $1.2 million structure travels over the North Oconee River and is between Old Cornelia Highway and East Hall Road.

Officials had expected to open the new bridge at the end of July, but were able to open it early. County spokeswoman Katie Crumley said the contractor had some minor things to finish by Friday, but that the bridge was open.

The county’s special purpose local option sales tax revenue is paying for the project.

County engineer Kevin McInturff has said the county was “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.”

The new bridge is also near schools.

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.

As the bridge replacement started in April, officials closed the old bridge, mostly affecting parents and students who drive cars to and from schools.

“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,” Hall County Schools operations director Jewel Armour said at the time.

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