After months of construction, workers hoisted the first of two new bridges into place Thursday along a new Augusta Canal trail spur that accesses the tailraces of two historic textile mills along the Savannah River.
“This one is 90 feet long and was shipped here in two pieces,” said the Augusta Canal Authority project manager, Russell Foster.
The prefabricated span was set across the Sibley Mill tailrace, or water channel, after a brief delay to allow engineers to conduct final stress tests on concrete pilings.
In the next few days, concrete decking will be poured onto the bridge to create a 6-inch-thick deck that will enable construction equipment to access the tailrace at King Mill, where a second bridge is planned.
“Starting Monday, they will begin clearing the rest of the trail between this bridge and the King Mill tailrace,” Foster said.
The King Mill tailrace is wider than Sibley’s and will have a suspension bridge.
The $1.2 million project, scheduled to be completed in July, will include about 1,800 feet of concrete trail.
The trail spur was initially designed to allow cyclists to veer off the canal towpath near the aqueduct at Rae’s Creek, cross under River Watch Parkway and emerge downtown near Waters Edge subdivision.
Because of unresolved engineering obstacles and funding limitations, the trail will end with a widened turnaround short of Waters Edge.
Massana Construction, of Tyrone, Ga., was chosen to manage the project.