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What DOT official blames for Exit 14 bridge defects
Three of four sections of Martin Road span must be replaced after strength-test failure
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The bridge over interstate 985 at exit 14 is being redone because of failed strength tests. - photo by Austin Steele

Failed strength tests on the new bridge that’s part of the Exit 14 project in South Hall is “really a material issue,” not a contractor issue, a Georgia Department of Transportation official said Thursday, March 7.

Brandon Kirby, assistant district engineer, addressed the issue briefly during the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Transportation Forum at the University of North Georgia’s Gainesville campus.

He was referring to three of the Interstate 985 structure’s four driving deck spans not meeting standards.

“We will be removing those soon,” Kirby said. “We’re waiting on a demo plan for that. We will try to accommodate most of that at night and not inconvenience the traveling public, and it will not be costing taxpayers anything.”

He went on to say, “That is one reason we’re out there — to try to help with safety. We perform tests and occasionally we just don’t meet our specifications and we have to take appropriate action for that.”

In a Feb. 14 letter obtained by The Times, the DOT told contractor G.P.’s Enterprises Inc. of Auburn, “Our review and analysis of both current facts and future unknowns leaves us with no option but to request (the three) deck spans … be replaced in their entirety.”

The corrective work could take place in April, district spokeswoman Katie Strickland said earlier this week.

She said the fixes shouldn’t delay the overall project, which has been set to wrap up on Aug. 31, 2019.

“They can continue working on the ramps and lanes,” Strickland said. “There is other stuff they can do.”

Since 2017, work has been well underway on all parts of the $34 million project, which would connect Martin Road at Falcon Parkway Ga. 13 on the east side of I-985 to H.F. Reed at Thurmon Tanner Parkway on the west side.

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