By REBECCA HAZEN
Submit Your Comments About Proposed Bridge Construction
The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is requesting feedback and comments for a proposed project to replace the State Route 136 bridge over Lookout Creek, and the proposed off-site detour route.
Comments will be accepted through Friday, Feb. 26. The online comment period is replacing an in-person meeting, which will not be held to insure safety from COVID-19.
According to GDOT, the project proposes to replace the bridge and utilize accelerated bridge construction methods, which would shorten the detour duration from several months to approximately two weeks.
“This is the most important bridge,” County Executive Ted Rumley said. “You’re going to cut a third of Trenton off.”
The off-site detour distance utilizing only state routes would be 36.4 miles, and would go into Chattanooga.
While the posted detour is using state routes, and would have to be used for larger trucks, Rumley noted that there is a shorter detour, however, it would still be at least 10 miles one way.
“The detour would be through Piney Road to Creek Road, cut across the ridge at the hang gliders [New England Road] and then come back down 11,” Rumley said.
A temporary station for fire apparatuses would have to be put across the creek, to avoid the detour, according to Rumley.
“We will put a unit over there and stage it over there. Hopefully someone will let us use some property over there,” Rumley said.
Rumley noted that the Commission wants GDOT to build half of the bridge, and bring traffic down to one lane with the red traffic lights to direct and keep the traffic flowing.
However, Rumley noted, if GDOT does do the accelerated bridge construction method, then the county could handle it and “14 days wouldn’t be bad.”
According to the project information on www.dot.ga.gov, “The Georgia DOT understands that closing the bridge during the school year would be very difficult and will work with the contractor to avoid as much inconvenience as possible.”
The website goes on to say that the project is proposed because the current bridge, constructed in 1940, is structurally deficient. The proposed bridge would be 165 feet in length and 43.1 feet wide and would be built in the same location as the existing bridge.
“It’s got to be done. It’s decaying underneath,” Rumley said.
Rumley encourages everyone to submit feedback, noting that if the meeting were to be held in person, the room would be filled up with people.
“This is important. You don’t want to drive down there one morning and wonder what’s going on. It needs to be a really hot topic,” Rumley said.
To view information about the project, and to leave comments, visit www.dot.ga.gov/AboutGDOT/PublicOutreach, and scroll down to the section labeled State Road (SR) 136 at Lookout Creek: Bridge Replacement and Detour. Click the View Info button.