Cobb Street bridge in Lula is closed again.
The iconic, sharp-angled wooden structure crossing Norfolk Southern railroad tracks downtown has failed a Georgia Department of Transportation inspection, Mayor Milton Turner said.
The city is trying to set up a meeting with Norfolk Southern “to show them what the DOT deems as needing repair,” Turner said.
“This is not one of those things that’s going to be done in the blink of an eye, I can tell you,” City Manager Dennis Bergin told Lula City Council Monday night.
The 70-year-old bridge, connecting Main Street to Wall Street, has been plagued with issues in recent years.
“This is the third or fourth closing I’ve been through since I’ve been on the council,” Turner said.
The last closing took place in April 2011, with the bridge reopening in October 2012 after Norfolk Southern Railroad completed some structural work.
The tracks run parallel to Main Street, dividing in half this Northeast Hall County town known for its annual Railroad Days festival.
The Cobb Street bridge provides residents a way to cross the tracks without having to wait on one of the many trains that pass through town each day.
Whatever becomes of efforts to fix the aging bridge, Turner had this to say: “I do not want to see the bridge go away. That’s part of our heritage.”
Some area residents said they didn’t believe corrective action came quickly enough the last time the bridge was closed.
Bergin said at the time he pushed the issue through federal sources, including the U.S. Department of Transportation.
“With the problems that Norfolk Southern runs into, I’m sure they had to prioritize a lot of the issues, as far as corrective action,” he said.