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Meeting about new lake bridges draws crowd
Plans call for replacing three spans on Hwy. 369
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Forsyth County News

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Missed the meeting? Those interested can send comments to Glenn Bowman, State Environmental Administrator-Georgia DOT, 600 W. Peachtree St., 16th Floor, Atlanta, GA 30308 or online at www.dot.ga.gov, through June 1.

 

 

Many residents of Forsyth and Hall counties attended an informational meeting Tuesday night to learn about plans to replace three aging bridges along Hwy. 369/Browns Bridge Road.

The bridges, all of which span Lake Lanier, include the green truss bridge that connects the counties, as well as those at Two Mile and Six Mile creeks in northeastern Forsyth.

Organized by the state Department of Transportation, the two-hour session was held Little Mill Middle School off Hwy. 369. It drew some 80 people in the first hour.

Most who came, including Forsyth County resident Carol Burdges, seemed to approve of the plans, which are a couple of years away.

“It’s far out and they’re big projects, so as far as how that will affect day-to-day activities, I don’t know,” she said. “We’re right in the middle of it, but I realize the bridges definitely need improving and I think it’s good to proceed with the projects.”

All three bridges were built in 1955 and have average daily traffic of 13,100 vehicles, according to DOT statistics.

Browns Bridge, at 1,372 feet across the Chattahoochee River portion of the lake, is the longest of the three and will be the first to be replaced.

DOT officials said the new bridges will be built parallel to the existing ones to maintain traffic flow. They will be sturdier and have wider shoulders. Once finished, the old structures will be removed.

Forsyth County resident Dick Runstadler was pleased with the plans.

“The fact that they’re razing them is a good thing, but I think they should have gone to four lanes because Browns Bridge is ultimately going to be four lanes,” he said.

Robert W. Mahoney, a DOT district preconstruction engineer, said the new bridges will be built to the north of the Two Mile and Six Mile Creek structures, and to the south of Browns Bridge.

“The plan is that we will eventually widen [Hwy.] 369 when money is available, and the original bridges that we’re demolishing will leave an opening for a new parallel bridge to be built,” he said.

Mahoney emphasized that the projects are in their early phases.

“We are doing the preliminary engineering work,” he said. “We still have a good bit of work on the engineering and the environmental process that we’re required to do and then we’ll get into the next phases, which would be right of way and construction.”

Mahoney said the time frame for Browns Bridge is slated for right of way in fiscal year 2014, or July 2013-June 2014, and construction in fiscal year 2016.

The other two projects call for acquiring right of way in fiscal year 2015 and construction in fiscal year 2017.

“With the big bridge, we want to get it started first and have the other two come on line after that,” Mahoney said.

Both Burdges and Runstadler found the meeting to be helpful.

“Everyone from the DOT was very willing to answer questions and explain things,” Burdges said.

Added Runstadler: “I was always curious about what they were going to do and the drawings helped a lot and the aerial shots helped a lot.”