Georgia Department of Transportation maintenance has been instructed not to schedule any “traffic-interrupting” work on Ga. 11/U.S. 129/Cleveland Highway while Ga. 284/Clarks Bridge Road is closed for a 60-day pedestrian tunnel project, District Engineer Bayne Smith said Friday.
“We shouldn’t be doing any routine maintenance,” he said.
The DOT’s detour involves only state-maintained routes: Clarks Bridge Road, Cleveland Highway, U.S. 129/Limestone Parkway and Ga. 52/Brookton-Lula Road. There are several local connections between Clarks Bridge Road and Cleveland Highway, including Lakeland and Honeysuckle roads.
Traffic has worsened particularly on Cleveland Highway since the detour began Tuesday. It became especially painful Thursday when one lane of Longstreet Bridge crossing the Chattahoochee River, just south of Georgia State Patrol Post 6, was closed for work.
“Our statewide bridge inspectors were out looking at something on the bridge,” Smith said. “They weren’t aware of the detour, and we’ve alerted them to that. So, we won’t have that happen again.”
Also, DOT has been monitoring traffic conditions at the intersection of Limestone Parkway and Cleveland Highway and is “trying to make some adjustments” with the signal light there, Smith said.
“We really shouldn’t see a big difference at the Clarks Bridge (Road) and Limestone (traffic light),” he said. “There should be less traffic there because the detour is in place.”
Smith said that “usually the first week of a detour is a learning curve, then backups dissipate as people choose their personal detour route.”
He said he “hasn’t heard of any specific issues” on Ga. 52, which crosses from Cleveland Highway to Clarks Bridge Road.
Will Wagner, manager of Don Carter State Park at 5000 N. Browning Bridge Road, off Clarks Bridge Road, has said the park already directs out-of-area visitors, particularly those in large vehicles such as RVs, to take Ga. 365 to Ga. 52, then to Clarks Bridge, to reach the park.
“That’s a significant number of our guests,” he said. “Another large chunk is coming from (northern counties), so it won’t affect them.”
Tunnel work at the Lake Lanier Olympic Venue prompted the DOT to close Clarks Bridge Road from
Clermont south to the venue to through traffic.
Motorists will be able to reach the venue by traveling north on Clarks Bridge Road from Limestone Parkway, as Clarks Bridge will remain open. To access the parking and boat ramps at Clarks Bridge Park, vehicles must travel Clarks Bridge Road northbound.
The road segment is set to reopen by July 26. District spokeswoman Teri Pope has said the closure is taking place in the summer so as not to affect school travel.
The tunnel is part of an overall $8.7 million project to replace the 56-year-old Clarks Bridge, which doesn’t meet current design standards.
This week, the DOT poured the last of 12 caissons across what will be the new 952-foot structure spanning the Chattahoochee River on Lake Lanier.
The entire project is set for completion by Dec. 31, 2015.
Two crews will be working this summer — one to build the bridge and the other to build the 63-foot tunnel.
With digging underway, Clarks Bridge Road’s grade must be raised by 3 feet to accommodate the concrete tunnel, which will be 10 feet wide and 8 feet high.