Price-Legg Bridge at Thurmond Lake to be replaced in 2014

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One of the longest and busiest bridges at Thurmond Lake will be replaced in 2014, according to Georgia’s Department of Transportation.

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The Georgia Department of Transportation has plans to build a new bridge for $20 million.  Jackie Ricciardi/staff
Jackie Ricciardi/staff
The Georgia Department of Transportation has plans to build a new bridge for $20 million.

The Price-Legg Bridge, which spans Little River on Georgia Highway 47, has provided an essential link between Columbia and Lincoln counties since its completion in 1952.

Today, however, the steel truss span flanked by a mile of rock-lined causeway is both “functionally obsolete and structurally deficient,” planners say.

“One of the things we’ve been asked to do is raise the height of the new bridge farther above full pool,” said Foster Grimes, leader of the DOT design team in charge of the project.

The bridge has barely 10 feet of clearance when Thurmond Lake is at full pool, which is 330 feet above sea level. The new span would clear that elevation by almost 30 feet and would allow larger boats to access the Little River arm of the reservoir that juts into McDuffie County.

The project, estimated to cost about $20 million, would involve building a new bridge and roadway on the Little River side of Ga. 47 and leaving the existing bridge open during construction, Grimes said. Once the new bridge is complete, the old one would be demolished.

The large construction area required for the 1.34-mile-long project could affect recreation activities such as bank fishing in the area, said Chris Spiller, the Army Corps of Engineers recreation manager at the lake.

“My understanding is, they are going to park equipment and use that bank fishing area as a staging area,” he said, adding that bank fishing areas would be improved with better parking and a retaining wall once the bridge is finished.

The popular Cherokee Recreation Area near the Lincoln County side of the bridge will not be affected during construction, however, and the higher clearance of a new span will offer opportunities for larger boats to use the nearby Little River Marina on the Columbia County side, he said.

The Price-Legg Bridge was built at about the same time as the reservoir, and much of the rock used in its causeway was quarried nearby.

Ken Boyd, the corps’ Thurmond Lake conservation biologist, said the men for whom the bridge is named were prominent figures in local history.

J.M. Price managed a grist mill in the Little River area adjacent to where the bridge was later built, he said, and Homer Legg was a well-known judge in Lincoln County.

Comments (11) Add comment
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JRC2024
8879
Points
JRC2024 09/25/11 - 04:48 pm
0
0
Why not just gradually raise

Why not just gradually raise the road and build the bridge at its present location?

Sweet son
10415
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Sweet son 09/25/11 - 05:57 pm
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JRC, how far out of the way

JRC, how far out of the way do you suppose folks would have to go to get around while the bridge is gone?

Good job as always Rob and thanks for the history as well!!

DuhJudge
206
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DuhJudge 09/25/11 - 06:23 pm
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0
Another $20,000,000 taxpayer

Another $20,000,000 taxpayer bill for the paper today. Seriously.....$20 million so a handful of people can drive their boats under a bridge? If this was to allow commercial barge traffic or freighters okay, but some houseboats for an evening cruise??? Stop spending MY money. There plenty of places that money should be spent on.....MY OTHER BILLS.

southern2
6153
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southern2 09/25/11 - 08:06 pm
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Must be more Obama "pass this

Must be more Obama "pass this bill now" stimulus. I'm sure the Corps will figure a way to blame low lake levels on this project too.

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 09/25/11 - 11:29 pm
0
0
The only logical reason for

The only logical reason for replacement is safety/fuctionality. If it is safe and accomodates 95% of traffic needs, leave it alone. If not, improve it without regard to recreation.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 09/26/11 - 07:37 am
0
0
What part of "structurally

What part of "structurally deficient" don't y'all get?

bdouglas
5035
Points
bdouglas 09/26/11 - 08:38 am
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0
FYI Techfan and others... A

FYI Techfan and others... A "structurally deficient" designation on a bridge does not necessarily (and usually doesn't) mean it is unsafe. It means that the bridge structure, as is, is no longer adequate for the needs of the location where it stands. That could mean it's causing traffic to back up on the road, not allowing proper boat traffic below it, or even (in the case of this bridge) not having enough vertical clearance on the roadway for the type of traffic that needs to consistently pass through there. So it can (and probably is...I haven't seen the paperwork) be perfectly safe as it is now and still be deemed "structurally deficient".

southern2
6153
Points
southern2 09/26/11 - 12:22 pm
0
0
Lake Thurmond hasn't seen

Lake Thurmond hasn't seen full pool 330' in over a year and a half (2/13/10). and is nearly 8 foot below it now. Clearance should not be an issue the way the level is taxed to maintain Russell and the Savannah (double draw down). Use this money toward the federal deficit because it must not be to “functionally obsolete and structurally deficient” if the urgency allows a 3 year wait.

southern
17
Points
southern 09/26/11 - 01:55 pm
0
0
But they close all recreation

But they close all recreation sites down way too early and leave very little if anything open in the winter. Its almost May now when they open the few that they do. The Corps are idiots.

JakeQ
61
Points
JakeQ 09/26/11 - 02:48 pm
0
0
Definitely off topic, but

Definitely off topic, but southern, I'm not aware of a federal or state agency that hasn't cut recreation operations or completely closed areas during the last couple of years due to budget cuts. What's left is geared towards summer operations because there are a lot more people around then.

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 09/26/11 - 04:00 pm
0
0
They are also going back to
Unpublished

They are also going back to volunteers in a lot of parks so get ready for less structure and rule following.

southern
17
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southern 09/28/11 - 07:36 am
0
0
@JakeQ there are cutbacks.

@JakeQ there are cutbacks. But the 4.3 million budget is the same as years past. And all the logging of lands monies stay at clarks hill. There should be year round access to most areas.

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