COVINGTON, Ga. — One Newton County bridge rated as “deficient” based on its condition was replaced recently but others are in various stages of work.
GDOT announced the beginning of construction Monday, Oct. 18, on a new Access Road bridge over the Yellow River to replace the current structure which is classified as “structurally deficient.”
The existing bridge, built in 1937, is 84 years old. A contractor is set to close Access Road on either side of the current bridge beginning Monday, Oct. 18, and keep it closed for more than nine months.
The federal government defines a bridge as “structurally deficient” if either the deck, superstructure, substructure or culvert are rated as being in poor or worse condition, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.
GDOT classifies a number of bridges as “deficient” in Newton County. Work to replace them varies from completed to the design stage.
A new County Hwy. 213 bridge over West Bear Creek opened Oct. 1. The bridge west of Mansfield is crossed by 1,770 vehicles daily and replaced one built in 1957 that was classified as deficient.
Another bridge at the Henry County line is replacing a deficient one and should open to traffic within months, GDOT announced.
The deck of the new Georgia Hwy. 81 bridge over the South River is complete and work is on pace to reopen it before the end of this year, GDOT officials said. The $4.3 million project is replacing a bridge built in 1948 on its existing alignment.
Two Newton County bridges on a bridge watchdog group’s list are on Brown Bridge Road and were rated the county’s worst.
The group, named TRIP, is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that provides and evaluates data on surface transportation issues to help guide funding policies that enhance safety and promote economic development.
It rated the two Brown Bridge Road bridges as the worst because they were both classified as deficient and have comparatively high traffic counts of more than 10,000 vehicles per day.
However, Newton County government is in the process of acquiring right of way and doing engineering work on the two bridges, as well as on Dial Mill Road. Funding is coming from federal and 2017 SPLOST funds, officials said.
The county Board of Commissioners recently approved right of way purchase and engineering work for the replacement of Brown Bridge Road’s bridge over the Yellow River. The current bridge is 59 years old and carries an average of 14,220 vehicles per day.
The Board also approved purchase of right of way in August for Brown Bridge Road’s Snapping Shoals Creek bridge. It is 58 years old and carries an average of 10,410 vehicles per day, the report stated.
County commissioners in September also approved funding of preliminary engineering work for the replacement of the Dial Mill Road bridge over Little Haynes Creek.
A 2018 county action plan stated that the 50-year-old Dial Mill Road bridge — which is at the Rockdale County line — needed to be replaced within the next few years.
The bridge carries almost 2,000 vehicles per day but can only handle a maximum of seven tons and “should be an immediate priority due to the traffic volumes experienced on that roadway,” the county’s plan stated.