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New Access Road bridge near Covington should be open by mid-November.
Replacing 84-year-old structure that collapsed and killed a contractor in 2021 during work to dismantle it
Access Road bridge
GDOT is estimating the Access Road replacement project west of Covington should be complete by mid-November. (Special | GDOT)

COVINGTON, Ga. — The new Access Road bridge over the Yellow River should be complete by mid-November near Crowell Road's I-20 overpass.

The Georgia Department of Transportation announced this week that Georgia Bridge and Concrete was working to complete the bridge — which is replacing an 84-year-old structure about 1-1/2 miles west of the Covington city limits.

The main work is complete but items still must be finished before it can be safely open to traffic, GDOT said in a posting on social media.

The items include:

• Grading and pavement for the roadway approaches to the new bridge.

• Addition of a guardrail.

• Signage and striping.

"With ideal weather and construction progress, these tasks will be completed by mid-November 2022 or sooner," stated a GDOT notice on social media. "Thanks for your patience and GDOT will announce the 'open to traffic' date once finalized."

Tucker-based Georgia Bridge and Concrete began construction about one year ago on the $3.065 million bridge replacement project near I-20's Exit 88 interchange with Crowell Road. 

The old bridge was built in 1937 and served as the U.S. Hwy. 278 crossing of the Yellow River before I-20 was built in the mid-1960s. 

The bridge ran parallel to I-20 a few yards south of the interstate and carried more than 9,000 vehicles per day before traffic was detoured in October 2021.

Work was delayed for about four months after the old bridge collapsed on Oct. 19, 2021, as contractors with Georgia Bridge and another company worked to dismantle the structure. 

One Georgia Bridge worker, Demario Battle, 33, of Atlanta, was killed after a concrete saw weighing more than 1,700 pounds struck and killed him as a 70-foot section of the structure fell into the river. 

A second worker employed by B&D Concrete Cutting Inc. of Atlanta was injured and hospitalized.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) later found that Georgia Bridge and B&D did not perform proper engineering surveys before allowing their workers to begin dismantling the 310-foot-long bridge. 

The companies received federal citations with proposed penalties of nearly $57,000 for their roles in the incident.