Tests continue on U.S. 378 bridge over Thurmond Lake

 

Engineers might need another six weeks to complete their inquiry into problems with underwater support columns at a new bridge over Thurmond Lake along U.S. Hwy. 378.

Construction on the 1,680-foot span that will link Lincolnton, Ga., with McCormick, S.C., began in April 2010 and scheduled to finish last July.

However, after identifying problems related to possible movement in the bridge supports, known as “bents,” engineers launched a series of tests that may further delay a new completion date later this month.

“We are in the process of testing the concrete, which will take some time, and we anticipate that testing process will be completed in the next six weeks,” said Cissy McNure, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation, in an e-mailed response to questions.

The support columns are anchored at the lake’s bottom in water as much as 80 feet deep. Engineers believe the deep, cold water — and differences in temperature — may have affected the curing of the concrete and caused stresses in the seal it was designed to create.

The contractor for the $22.4 million project is Ala­bama-based Scott Bridge Co., which also managed the $192 million construction of the Interstate 20/Bobby Jones Expressway juncture in Augusta.

Once completed, the 44-foot-wide span will have two travel lanes and two emergency lanes and — at its highest point – will be 108 feet above the lake at full pool.

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