With construction on the bridge at Browns Bridge Road/Ga. 369 and Ga. 400 paused, Forsyth County released a video on Thursday, Jan. 12 with more information about the situation for residents.
In early December, a statement was sent from the county government to Forsyth County News which said, “Work on the bridge has been temporarily paused to assess the best plan of action following a routine inspection.”
An inspection indicated that, while the bridge and substructure were constructed as planned, the structural design provided to contractor Vertical Earth did not meet current Georgia Department of Transportation standards.
Since the inspection, the county, GDOT and Vertical Earth have been “batting around” solutions to the “design condition” problem, according to transportation officials.
In the video, Director of Communications Russell Brown interviewed the county’s Director of Capital Projects John Jefferson, GDOT’s District 1 Engineer Kelvin Mullins and Vertical Earth’s Head of Transportation Elliott Batts.
Jefferson said a wall will be built where the columns are currently placed under the bridge for support.
A web wall will be installed between the columns to improve longevity of the bridge, infilling what is already there and hopefully lasting 50 years or more.
While prolonged construction timelines are never ideal, all three men agreed the bridge is “structurally sound as constructed today.”
Mullins said, from GDOT’s perspective, this solution was “a good one.”
“I think everybody’s satisfied with this [solution],” he said.
Regarding the project’s timeline, Batts said Vertical Earth is hoping to get started with the new plan in two or three weeks with a buildout of six weeks to two months. Once completed, traffic can begin to shift onto the bridge and ramps, hopefully sometime in March.
Mullins mentioned that once traffic has been shifted to the bridge, however, the intersection at Ga. 400 and Martin Road would be closing and turning into a right-in right-out only access on both sides of the interstate.
The reason behind the closing is the new ramps for the bridge will be too close to the traffic lights for safe operation.
The widening of Ga. 369 has also been continuing with new traffic lights installed along the route.