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Fifth Street bridge hump still an issue to motorists

Thursday, May 9, 2013 5:35 PM
Last updated Friday, May 10, 2013 3:16 AM
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Steve Daly has lived in the Augusta area for almost 50 years and knows from experience to slow almost to a halt when crossing the Fifth Street bridge.

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Cars cross the Fifth Street bridge in Augusta. Of the 245 bridges in Richmond County, the Fifth Street bridge is one of eight that the Federal Highway Administration has rated as structurally deficient.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Cars cross the Fifth Street bridge in Augusta. Of the 245 bridges in Richmond County, the Fifth Street bridge is one of eight that the Federal Highway Administration has rated as structurally deficient.

He said drivers traveling faster than 10 mph could become airborne, lose control of their vehicles or possibly hit nearby street lamps and drainage curbs.

Daly’s assessment might sound extreme, but residents, business owners and taxi drivers share the same observations, imploring the city for decades to smooth out the hump leading into the overpass, which was built in 1931.

“I’ve lived here since 1964, and that hump has always been there and the city has always had problems with it,” said Daly, who, as dockmaster of the Riverwalk Marina, travels the bridge daily.

Of the 245 bridges in Richmond County, the Fifth Street bridge is one of eight that the Federal Highway Administration in 2010 rated as “structurally deficient.” According to the administration’s National Bridge Inventory, the multibeam steel overpass has a 28 percent satisfaction rating, with its deck in fair condition, its structure in poor and the circuit as a whole, meeting the “minimum tolerable limits to be left as is.”

Despite routine maintenance by the city and a bright-yellow sign warning “bump 10 mph,” Daly said the bridge entrance from Augusta has led to some “horrendous crashes” since the 1970s, in which missing chunks of concrete and tire marks remain on Fifth Street as reminders.

The source of the bump comes from a metal joint, covered with asphalt, that ties together the retaining wall of the Savannah River levee to the ramp descending into downtown Augusta, said Steve Cassell, the traffic engineer for Augusta and Richmond County. It was once a swing bridge for passing watercraft, he said.

Cassell said the city plans to hire a consultant by the end of the year to analyze the overpass and proceed with a plan, estimated at $10 million, to restore the bridge’s structure, fix damaged concrete, install better lighting and dress it up as a gateway to downtown Augusta.

“Considering its history, the bridge is actually not in bad shape,” Cassell said. “We will get it fixed.”

Before any improvements are made, Cassell said, the public will get a chance to give its input on the project. Traffic counts estimate 3,720 vehicles travel the bridge each day, a large portion of which are said to be people crossing the state line to take advantage of cheaper gas in South Carolina.

Some Fifth Street regulars have found comfort in the bridge hump, especially at the Riverwalk Marina, where a steep incline and shrubbery block oncoming traffic.

“I like it,” Walter Clay said of the bump. Clay owns a boat at the marina and uses the bridge several times a day.

Although Clay said that the bump is rough and that he considered asking the city to flatten it, he never followed through on the request.

“It keeps motorists from speeding across the bridge and people coming in and out
of the marina safe,” he said. “Visibility is not that great.”

STRUCTURALLY DEFICIENT BRIDGES

Of the 245 bridges in Richmond County, eight were rated as “structurally deficient” in 2010 by the Federal Highway Administration.

Waterway crossedStreet traveledYear built
Spirit CreekWindsor Springs Road1966
Savannah RiverFifth Street1931
Augusta CanalSeventh Street1914
Raes CreekMarks Church Road1975
Raes CreekScotts Way1975
Augusta CanalFenwick Street1940
Canal SpillwayGoodrich Street1940
Canal SpillwayGoodrich Street1940
Comments (9) Add comment
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Riverman1
84972
Points
Riverman1 05/10/13 - 04:25 am
3
0
Stevens Creek Rd. Bridge

In Columbia County the bridge on Stevens Creek Rd by the water treatment plant that was repaired using federal flood diaster money has had a severe dip in it since the work was done. It is also a dangerous one that can cause a vehicle to lose control.

Bodhisattva
6309
Points
Bodhisattva 05/10/13 - 05:12 am
5
0
Maybe they can swap part of

Maybe they can swap part of the dip for part of the hump and come out even.

nocnoc
43496
Points
nocnoc 05/10/13 - 07:32 am
3
0
Ah! come on.

It has only been there what? 30 years?
Give the GA-DOT a chance to get to it. ☻

It wasn't there in the early 70's,when I use to frequented the Riverside Inn from 2am to sunrise. ☺

nocnoc
43496
Points
nocnoc 05/10/13 - 07:40 am
2
0
WAIT APPLY BRAKES

Now we get to the reason for action.
"... city plans to hire a consultant by the end of the year to analyze the overpass and proceed with a plan, estimated at $10 million,...

When those of us with brains were fighting TSPLOST we were told it would take 7.4 million to fix it (going on memory here). But I am for sure it wasn't $10M.

Many readers recommended they turn it into a walking bridge and part of the Riverwalk, it was it was cheaper.

There is the other bridge 1 block away that can handle the traffic and does not even disrupt the few SC riverfront home owners.

So why fix a 1930's dinosaur?

Is it because some Politician gets to spend $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ and
"Help" out a few people?

Riverman1
84972
Points
Riverman1 05/10/13 - 08:09 am
0
0
Bridge Hump

I have to admit the headline had me thinking a totally different way for a minute. Something comparable to the Cooper River Bridge Run... if you get my drift. I could see the motorists pulling over for the event.

julie123
43
Points
julie123 05/10/13 - 08:59 am
0
0
Just slow down

All you have to do is slow down. Period.

nocnoc
43496
Points
nocnoc 05/10/13 - 09:05 am
0
0
julie123 - said in humor

Could you say that 1 more time?

GiantsAllDay
9699
Points
GiantsAllDay 05/10/13 - 10:11 am
2
0
Conspiracy theory: The brake,

Conspiracy theory: The brake, tire and front end shops are giving Cassell kickbacks not to fix it.

my.voice
4875
Points
my.voice 05/10/13 - 01:43 pm
0
0
Its been "fixed" as of

Its been "fixed" as of yesterday. Another layer of asphalt!

acstrauss
28
Points
acstrauss 05/10/13 - 02:11 pm
0
0
The Dip/Bump on WB Bobby

The Dip/Bump on WB Bobby Jones Expressway @ Sand Bar Ferry Rd overpass is a coffee spiller, especially at 60mph.

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