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Hwy. 81 bridge construction connecting Newton, Henry still on track
State DOT says new structure should be reopened by year’s end
New Hwy. 81 bridge
Aerial view of the new Hwy. 81 bridge over the South River. - photo by Georgia Department of Transportation

COVINGTON, Ga. — Travelers between Newton and Henry counties on Hwy. 81 will have a new bridge open by December.

GDOT announced Thursday the deck of the new Georgia Hwy. 81 bridge over the South River at the border of Newton and Henry counties is complete and work is on pace to reopen it to travel before the end of this year. 

The Georgia Department of Transportation officially awarded a replacement for the 72-year-old structure in August 2020 to Wright Brothers Construction Co. totaling $4.299 million.

The project is replacing a bridge built in 1948 on its existing alignment. 

It was planned to have two,12-foot travel lanes and 10-foot shoulders (four feet paved and six feet unpaved) with rural side ditches. The total length of the project is approximately 0.42 miles.

The assigned state highway detour on roads around the site totaled 34 miles. 

GDOT selected the off-site detour method and duration to reduce environmental and property impacts, while expediting construction and reducing cost, officials said.

Additional bridge width would be constructed on the east side of the existing bridge, and the new profile raised, GDOT said. 

A temporary turn-around area was to be constructed during the off-site detour to facilitate school bus traffic on the Henry County side.

Old Hwy. 81 bridge
The new bridge is replacing this bridge that was built in the 1940s. - photo by Georgia Department of Transportation