Just in time for warmer weather and a flood of tourists, a long-awaited pedestrian bridge is set to be installed Thursday, March 29, on Main Street in Helen.
The structure will sit next to the vehicular Main Street bridge crossing the Chattahoochee River and near a throng of shops, restaurants and hotels.
It should be open to the public within the next three weeks, after the concrete holding the new bridge in place has set, City Manager Jerry Elkins said.
Main Street will be closed as the prebuilt bridge is moved, starting about 8 a.m., from Dye Street and put into place. The $630,000 project should take about four hours to complete, Elkins said.
Crews “will have a crane on each end and they’ll set it in to mount down,” he said. “Once it’s set in place, we can basically open the road back up.”
In the meantime, “we’ll have police officers out working the detour, making sure everyone can get through safely,” Elkins said.
“We apologize for the inconvenience,” the city’s website states. “We believe the results will be well worth it. Not only will the bridge be safer for our pedestrian traffic, but it will add an attractive appearance to the city.”
The new bridge will be on the northbound side of Main Street/Ga. 75, which winds through the heart of the popular Alpine-styled village. A same-style pedestrian bridge has been in place on the southbound side since 2009.
“It’s been a long time coming, and we are certainly glad to get this project completed,” Elkins said.
The city received a federal Transportation Enhancement grant seven years ago, but now is only able to spend the money on the project.
“Some of the funding came in slow from the feds to the state, and then (the city had to) comply will all the mandates,” said Elkins, who had hoped to have the bridge ready by the end of March.
“We did everything from fish studies to long-eared bat studies and an Indiana bat study. We actually had to have one of the (studies) done twice because of the length of time.”