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Work postponed on Hwy. 53 lake bridge at Forsyth-Hall County line
Vehicles cross the Hwy. 53 (Dawsonville Highway) bridge at the Forsyth-Hall County line. Work on a planned replacement bridge has been delayed until spring. - photo by Scott Rogers

GAINESVILLE — Work has been delayed until at least spring on the replacement of the Hwy. 53 (Dawsonville Highway) bridge over the Chestatee River arm of Lake Lanier at the Forsyth-Hall County line.

Georgia Department of Transportation officials had expected a fall start to the Boling Bridge project, but that was based on bids being awarded to a contractor this summer, district spokeswoman Teri Pope said.

The DOT considered the project in June, “but the bids were rejected,” Pope said.

Now, officials hope to award the project to a contractor in October. If that happens, the contractor “could start some work this winter but likely wait till spring,” Pope said.

The project’s timing is the contractor’s decision, but typically it takes two to three months “to complete paperwork, order materials and get staff and equipment ready to begin work on a project,” she said.

The $13.5 million project was part of a $111.5 million bond package approved in May by the state’s transportation board.

Boling Bridge was part of a string of bridges built in the 1950s as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was filling up Lake Lanier.

It “is in need of repair,” Pope has said.

The new bridge will be built next to the existing one, so construction should not affect traffic flow, she said.

The bridge project has a unique feature: 30-foot towers to accommodate osprey, a bird of prey that likes to make Boling Bridge its summer home.

Dorothy Blount, a longtime Forsyth County resident, who lives near the highway, said that she, for one, will be sad to see the bridge go.

“It’s beautiful,” she said.

The green Boling Bridge has a distinctive overhead truss system.