EAST FORSYTH — Weather permitting, crews are scheduled tonight to start setting six more pre-stressed concrete beams for the first of two new Hwy. 20 bridges over the Chattahoochee River at the Forsyth-Gwinnett County line.
Harold Mull, district construction engineer with the state Department of Transportation, described the individual beams as “custom made, like a puzzle piece that only fits in one place.”
“The beams will be driven up Interstate 985 then across [Hwy.] 20 to the work zone,” Mull said in a statement. “Each beam is 140 feet long and six feet tall” and weighs 80,000 pounds.
He went on to note that the work will close one lane of the corridor, also known as Buford Highway, from 8 tonight to 6 a.m. Friday.
Lengthy delays are likely as a flagger directs traffic across the bridge one lane at a time. Motorists are encouraged to avoid the area.
The 1.07-mile project is remaking the road into a four-lane divided highway with sidewalks between James Burgess Road in east Forsyth and Burnett Trail in Gwinnett.
The existing bridge over the Chattahoochee was built in 1947 and does not meet current design standards, according to the DOT.
The new, parallel bridges will be south, or downstream, of the existing structure. The original bridge, on which traffic currently passes, will be demolished after the two new spans open.
C.W. Matthews Contracting of Marietta is handling the project at an estimated cost of $10.2 million.
The bridges are part of one of three projects along the corridor.
Hwy. 20 between Samples and James Burgess roads in east Forsyth is also being widened to a four-lane divided highway with sidewalks, which at last check remained on track for its Nov. 30, 2016 completion.
On the Gwinnett County side of the river, the 3.71 miles from Burnett Trail to Peachtree Industrial Boulevard are also being transformed into the same, continuous four-lane divided highway. The estimated completion date is June 30, 2016.
Authorities are reminding motorists to use caution and mind the speed limit in the work zone, which is 35 mph at all times.