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Lula bridge over railroad needs repairs, and officials are fed up with lack of progress
The Cobb Street bridge over the railroad in Lula failed a Georgia Department of Transportation inspection and was closed in October.

Railroad crossings

Norfolk Southern Railway crews are scheduled to repair railroad crossings at these Hall County locations:

• Barefoot Road, Lula: Tuesday and March 21
• Chamblee Road, Oakwood: March 3
• Main Street, Oakwood: March 7-8
• White Sulphur Road: March 10-11
• Cagle Road, Lula: March 15
• Lula Road, Lula: March 16
• Athens Street, Lula: March 16-17
• 8th Street, Lula: March 21
• Moccasin Gap Road, Lula: March 21
• Bertha Gragg Road, Lula: March 21

Source: Hall County government

Lula is still waiting on Norfolk Southern Railway to make a move on fixing the town’s historic Cobb Street bridge, which was closed last year out of safety concerns.

“I’m fed up with it,” City Manager Dennis Bergin said this week about the city’s efforts to get some resolution of the issue. “I don’t blame everybody for being frustrated. … We ought to have gotten an answer by now.”

Bergin, who updated Lula City Council Monday night about the matter, said he has contacted U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, to see if he can speed up things.

“We've been working with both Norfolk Southern as well as the city officials,” Collins spokeswoman Katy Summerlin said by email Tuesday, “As of now, we're looking at multiple ways to resolve the situation.”

Rick Harris, Norfolk Southern spokesman, couldn’t comment Tuesday, saying he was “awaiting info on the bridge.”

He said in October, “When we receive the state’s report, we will review it and arrange for any work that we agree is necessary.”

The iconic, sharp-angled wooden structure crossing downtown failed a Georgia Department of Transportation inspection and was closed last fall.

At the time, Lula Mayor Milton Turner said the city was trying to set up a meeting with Norfolk Southern “to show them what the DOT deems as needing repair.”

Residents also frequently walk the bridge, which, they say, serves as an important link joining two sides of town. The bridge spans railroad tracks that run through the heart of town, with trains passing through frequently and particularly creating traffic snags at the railroad crossing near Athens and Main.

Early on, Bergin was concerned repairs may not happen overnight.

“This is not one of those things that’s going to be done in the blink of an eye, I can tell you,” he said.

The last closing took place in April 2011, with the bridge reopening in October 2012 after Norfolk Southern Railroad completed some structural work.

Bergin has said he had to push hard then, too, going through the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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