Originally created 01/23/04

Gordon Highway repairs slated to end next month

Construction work on several Gordon Highway bridges in downtown Augusta is now only a few weeks away from being completed, officials say.

The rehabilitation project, delayed for a month and scaled back when a construction device blasted too much concrete off some Gordon overpasses, should be finished by the second week of February, reopening all bridge lanes to traffic, said Vonda Everett, of the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Since the work began five months ago on Gordon overpasses between Telfair and Broad streets, the speed limit there has dropped from 45 to 35 mph. There also have been some road closings beneath bridges.

"The 35 mph signs will be taken down once the project is finished," Ms. Everett said. "Then it will go back to 45."

Until then, motorists might not want to speed in the construction zone. The cost of a speeding ticket is $625 no matter how far over the limit a motoristgets.

So far, officers haven't had to write more speeding tickets than normal since construction began on Gordon, said Maj. Richard Weaver, of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

The $3 million project, contracted to the firm Gilbert Southern, originally involved seven bridges, including some ramps. A water blasting device was supposed to shoot away the top few inches of the bridges' concrete for repaving. The project's scope, however, was narrowed to only the eastbound lanes of five bridges when the device shot completely through some of the bridges.

The DOT decided a complete deck replacement of eastbound bridge decks was needed, making the cost too high to include Gordon's Savannah River bridge or the westbound on-ramp to Gordon from Broad Street.

Since the first construction mishap, Ms. Everett said the project seems to have run smoothly.

"I haven't heard of anything else," she said.

Repairs to the two bridges left out of the project and work on westbound lanes for all seven bridges will have to be resubmitted for additional funds.

"It will probably be a little later on since we have so many projects on the books that are coming up," Ms. Everett said.

Once the Gordon bridges are completed in February, Ms. Everett said a rehabilitation project on Interstate 20 between the Warren Road overpass and I-20's interchange with Bobby Jones Expressway will soon follow. She said a widening project to add turn lanes at the Mike Padgett Highway and Goshen Road intersection also will start in April.

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 828-3904 or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.com.


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