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Road work at Clarks Bridge resumes after 45-day wait
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The Lake Lanier Olympic Venue, boat ramp and Clarks Bridge Park across the road have remained open during construction of a new Clarks Bridge and pedestrian tunnel. - photo by NAT GURLEY

Construction crews have been back at work this week at Clarks Bridge, where a replacement project had stalled for 45 days to ensure the support for a retaining wall had compacted and settled as needed.

Work had been steadily moving along on the $8.7 million project to replace the 56-year-old Clarks Bridge, which spans the Chattahoochee River on Lake Lanier.

But it had to stop where “no work could occur at the bridge,” said Teri Pope, district spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The holdup ended Saturday and “work is really getting back into gear,” she said.  

One crew has finished pouring concrete for sidewalks that connect the viewing areas and parking areas through a pedestrian tunnel, which is being built under Ga. 284/Clarks Bridge Road at the Lake Lanier Olympic Venue.

Workers also spent Thursday afternoon backfilling dirt at the tunnel and sidewalks.

The tunnel “won’t officially open for use until we get the electrical run into it and get the lighting turned on,” Pope said.

Next week, after Labor Day, crews are set to return to the bridge itself, driving into the earth an H-shaped steel beam that helps support the bridge.

That work “is going to be really loud,” Pope said. “It’s steel hammering on steel to get it 50-60 feet into the earth or until it hits bedrock, so that (the beam) is stable.”

On the south side of the bridge, another crew will weld into place steel panels between bridge beams to tie all the beams together “to make it one structure, really,” Pope said.

All the work will happen away from Ga. 284, so there won’t be lane closures.

But motorists generally are slowing to watch the bridge’s progress, causing some backups, Pope said.

“It is really cool work,” she added.

The project is set to be completed by Dec. 31, 2015.