ELLIJAY, Ga. – During the county’s monthly work session today, information received over a zoom call was revealed as Commission Chairman Charlie Paris, along with Public Works Director Jim Smith spoke on it’s involvement with another Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) bridge project.
According to Smith, the state is discussing replacement of two bridges on Highway 52 East. The project would require a detour along state roads as they plan to go about the project. Smith went on to add that this could mean closure of as section of the highway for up to a year.
Through traffic would take alternative state roads. However, Smith noted that much of the local traffic would end up relying on Lower Cartecay Bridge for certain traffic and access routes. The project has been under discussion since it was condemned in April, 2017. It was later adopted into a state replacement program, and it was later given a priority over another local bridge.
Now, the bridge could see the beginning of construction to replace it over five years later. According to Chairman Paris, the date given by the state would be August, 2022.
In addition to this, Smith said that the state hopes to start its 52 East Bridges project in 2025.
Paris added later that Smith presented a strong argument that the DOT needs to move the start date on Lower Cartecay to a earlier date so that the bridge will definitely be completed and available for traffic as necessary for local traffic.
While the state made no official promises, Smith said representatives “didn’t disagree” with a need for an earlier start to Lower Cartecay.
This project has gone through several plans for replacement in the county as former Post Commissioner Travis Crouch debated for setting aside money in the annual budget to replace the bridge before the board found the state replacement program.
A massive reduction in local costs, the county applied and was accepted into the program, but has, until today, never heard of official start dates for the physical construction as the state has been acquiring right of ways and engineering plans for the project.
Paris said both he and Smith stressed the importance of having he bridge completed sooner rather than later, especially with another major bridge project nearby so close behind it on the timeline.