The Georgia Department of Transportation wants to hear from the public on the planned replacement of the 13th Street bridge connecting Augusta and North Augusta.
GDOT has determined the existing bridge is structurally deficient. However, that does not imply it is unsafe. It simply means the bridge does not meet current design standards. Spokesman Kyle Collins says the bridge was built in 1939 and widened in 1991.
The proposal is to replace the bridge at its current location to minimize environmental concerns and the right-of-way.
GDOT is asking for citizen input from now until Aug. 13.
Citizens can view a website here with an overview of the project along with videos showing specific plans for lighting, a pedestrian walkway and bicycle path.
The project has an estimated price tag of almost $56.7 million, paid for with federal and state funds.
Hameed Malik, director of engineering, said Augusta approached GDOT and said connectivity features for walkways, trails and bikes were a priority.
“They were really open to entertain that, but they were up front on two things,” he said. “You have to commit this in writing and the city has to commit to fund those improvements.”
Malik said the city fulfilled both steps. Funding, up to $5 million, will come from the city’s TIA funds.
Collins said the South Carolina Department of Transportation has been involved as a partner in the planning but is not financially involved.
SCDOT Spokesman Robert Kudelka said, “The City of North Augusta is providing Alternative Transportation Funds to assist with the cost of pedestrian accommodations connecting the two states. SCDOT is providing assistance to GDOT coordinating with our resource agency partners. SCDOT is also providing guidance regarding design of the project on the South Carolina side.”
In addition to rebuilding the structure connecting two states, this GDOT proposal would improve pedestrian and bicycle connectivity. Once construction begins, the bridge will remain open but with just one lane of travel in each direction. GDOT has identified alternate routes to get around the project.