Narrow bridges

Wide river. Soap Creek Bridges on State Replacement Schedule

Broad River Bridge on Georgia Highway 79 (Photo courtesy of the GDOT Bridge Office).

Replacing two key bridges over the next four years will bring significant improvements in safety and economic growth to Lincoln County, as the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) office of bridges released dates for tender for the replacement of the Broad River Bridge on Highway 79 and the “Crooked Bridge” on SR220 at Soap Creek.

The Broad River Bridge project is now slated for tender award in late summer or early fall 2024, according to Kyle Collins, communications specialist for GDOT East Central Georgia District. Construction is expected to start 2-3 months later, or around July or August 2023.

The award of bids for the Soap Creek Bridge Project is currently set for March 15, 2025, with construction expected to begin in the summer of 2025. Both schedules are subject to change depending on conditions.

Broad river plan

The 734-foot Broad River Bridge was built in 1954. The narrow bridge has no shoulder.

The current Broad River Bridge has no shoulders and narrow lanes

The current Broad River Bridge has no shoulders and narrow lanes

Replacement plans call for leaving the old bridge in place until a new bridge is completed, eliminating any need to close the Elberton Expressway (GA79) during the construction project.

The new bridge will be built on the east side or downstream of the current bridge. The site decision avoids any disturbance to the popular Georgia Freshwater Campground location on the Broad River, and removes any threat to more sensitive archaeological sites on the upstream side of the bridge, such as the Old Canal and the site of the mill.

The new bridge will have 12-foot-wide lanes and 8-foot shoulders on both sides. Construction costs are estimated at $ 5.2 million, with a total cost of $ 6.5 million after including pre-engineering, right-of-way and utility costs.

Soap Stream Plan

The Soap Creek / GA220 Bridge does not yet have a GDOT-approved concept report, but its replacement is now scheduled with a tender scheduled for March 2025 and a public information open house scheduled for June of l ‘next year. The hearing will also be available live online.

Soap Creek Bridge / GA220 - the Crooked Bridge (photo Lincoln Journal)

Soap Creek Bridge / GA220 – the Crooked Bridge (photo Lincoln Journal)

While the Broad River project will bring improvements to road safety, the Soap Creek project will also add increased economic development opportunities for the county.

Built in 1952, the current bridge – known locally as the “Crooked Bridge” – has extremely low boat clearance that has prevented larger boats from accessing Soap Creek Marina for nearly 70 years. As the largest private sector tourist attraction in the county, this deficiency has cost Lincoln County lost revenue on sales and property taxes by largely limiting Soap Creek to fishing boats and pontoons that can pass under. the low clearance bridge.

The proposed clearance increase for the replacement deck, coordinated with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is estimated to be 20 feet above the full lake pool, which is 330 feet above the mean level of the sea. For the first time since the marina opened in 1954, it will be able to attract cruise ships, barges and larger sailboats for the rental of boats, the sale of gasoline and convenience stores and access to the Williemacs restaurant.

Current plans call for an “off-site” detour, which means the current bridge will be demolished and the road closed until the new bridge is opened. Using a bridge replacement plan like the one at Broad River is expected to cost an additional $ 1 million. A second bridge would also negatively impact the more intense water flow on Soap Creek and require additional environmental mitigation requirements.

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