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Some Augusta bridges need repair, replacement

Saturday, June 1, 2013 4:28 PM
Last updated Sunday, June 2, 2013 2:43 AM
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If Augusta’s bridges were given superlatives, a crumbling span on a gated segment of Goodrich Street might win the title of “most likely to fail,” according to state and federal records.

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The Fifth Street bridge received a "poor" rating from state inspectors. In addition, the bridge was given a low score - 27.4 out of 100 - from the Federal Highway Administration.  TODD BENNETT/STAFF
TODD BENNETT/STAFF
The Fifth Street bridge received a "poor" rating from state inspectors. In addition, the bridge was given a low score - 27.4 out of 100 - from the Federal Highway Administration.

“This bridge is in poor condition with serious conditions in the superstructure and substructure,” the Georgia Department of Trans­portation wrote in its most recent inspection report.

Bridge conditions again returned to the national consciousness with the collapse of a Washington state bridge May 24. The National Transportation Safety Board called it a warning for the entire nation.

Most of Rich­mond County’s 245 bridges earn satisfactory rankings, with the number of “structurally deficient” spans falling from 16 in 2009 to just eight in 2012.

Though the state is required to inspect all bridges every two years, local governments are often responsible for repairing or replacing them, said Abie Ladson, Au­gus­ta’s engineering director.

One of the area’s worst bridges – on Willis Foreman Road over Spirit Creek – was recently replaced, he said.

“That one was very deficient, and we even closed it down for a while,” he said.

Six other bridges are scheduled for replacement, with repairs on 19 others in various stages of design and funding.

Augusta’s most notoriously deficient span is the Fifth Street bridge, which was named the Jefferson Davis Memorial Bridge when it was dedicated in 1931.

Despite intermittent cosmetic repairs, state inspectors last year gave it a “poor” rating, citing sheared-off anchor bolts, corroded pin connections, cracked beams and other issues. The bridge also received a low score – 27.4 out of 100 – from the Federal Highway Administration.

Although the bridge isn’t pretty, it is not in danger of failure, Ladson said, calling it “structurally in good shape.”

Often, bridges that are substandard are posted with weight limits, with closing used only as a last resort.

Bridge failures like the one that shut down a major interstate near Seattle last month are rare, in part because of inspection programs designed to detect safety issues before a collapse.

Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Cissy McNure said there are 14,455 bridges in the state, with 7,872 owned by local governments and 6,583 owned by the state. The public is urged to immediately notify authorities if they observe damage to a bridge.

Augusta’s deficient bridges include two along Goodrich Street, a dirt road parallel to the Augusta Canal. Both are in the planning stages for repair or replacement, but in the meantime, the area is closed to vehicle traffic from the public.

Dayton Sherrouse, the executive director of the Augusta Canal Authority, said the decision to close the road two years ago was driven by other issues, including crime, vandalism and littering.

“The bridge had nothing to do with closing the road,” he said.

Other bridges with deficient ratings include Seventh Street at the canal, Marks Church Road at Rae’s Creek, Scott’s Way at Rae’s Creek, Fenwick Street at the canal and Windsor Spring Road at Spirit Creek.

Columbia County has only one structurally deficient bridge, at Stevens Way over a tributary of Reed Creek, according to a 2011 report from Transportation America, which listed 36 bridges in Aiken County that require attention.

STRUCTURALLY DEFICIENT BRIDGES

Of the 245 bridges in Richmond County, eight were rated “structurally deficient” in 2012 by the Federal Highway Administration.

WATERWAYROADYEAR BUILT
Augusta CanalSeventh Street1914
Savannah RiverFifth Street1931
Augusta CanalFenwick Street1940
Canal SpillwayGoodrich Street1940
Canal SpillwayGoodrich Street1940
Spirit CreekWindsor Spring Road1966
Rae’s CreekMarks Church Road1975
Rae’s CreekScotts Way1975
Comments (5) Add comment
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GnipGnop
12227
Points
GnipGnop 06/01/13 - 06:08 pm
6
1
Looks like...

a bridge tax is coming!!!!

Augusta resident
1368
Points
Augusta resident 06/01/13 - 07:34 pm
7
1
Wasted money

We spent $500K on a parking study and well over $400K on Xmart. We don't need another tax, we need to quit wasting money.

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 06/01/13 - 07:53 pm
6
4
I wonder what happen to $200
Unpublished

I wonder what happen to $200 to $300 billion of the stimulus that was supposed to be used for roads and bridges. It was used as a democrat slush fund that the commie in the WH used to reward his friends.

deestafford
27564
Points
deestafford 06/01/13 - 09:37 pm
6
1
Correct me if I'm wrong but

did not the bridge in WA state failed because it was hit by a truck? Also, that bridge that collapsed in MN was because of faulty installed plates not lack of money.

One of the problems is the gas tax money is not going to repairing roads as bridges as they should be. Much of it is going for "green" projects such as bike paths and setting up walking trails on old railroad track right of ways.

Dixieman
14943
Points
Dixieman 06/01/13 - 10:01 pm
7
2
What good are all my points?

Dixieman does not believe that (a) any of Obama's "shovel ready" projects really exist, except in his own demented imagination, or (b) the SPLOST tax will ever do any good (I shop in North Augusta more now) or fund useful projects like repairing this bridge.

Riverman1
83820
Points
Riverman1 06/01/13 - 10:45 pm
4
0
Is that photo of an actual,

Is that a photo of an actual, active, supposed support column? Or is that a column that has been replaced in some other way?

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 06/02/13 - 08:43 am
1
0
More propoganda to generate tax revenue.
Unpublished

Regular maintenance reduces cost. Short term and long term. "Run To Failure" is not cost effective. But it does allow politicians to steal the budgeted money for maintenance. Drive you new car until there is no oil in the engine or no air in the tires.

Road & Bridges is a vast wasteland of thieves. Always was, always will be. No over site.

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