VIDEO: GDOT to Replace Augusta's 13th Street Bridge Connecting Georgia to South Carolina
Fri July 30, 2021 - Southeast Edition CEG
A new bridge connecting Georgia and South Carolina over the Savannah River in the works by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).
The replacement bridge is being proposed in downtown Augusta on 13th Street/U.S. Highway 25 Business. It also is being designed to improve pedestrian and bicycle connectivity between the Georgia city and North Augusta, S.C.
GDOT noted on its project website that the new road structure "is being proposed because the current bridge is structurally deficient, is in substandard condition and does not meet current design standards."
In addition, the department's engineers and inspectors have determined that the 82-year-old bridge now in use "does not meet current expectations with regards to lane width, shoulder width, live load capacity and its railing system."
According to GDOT, the $56 million proposal for the new bridge consists of four travel lanes with an 11-ft. inside lane and a 12-ft. outside lane in each direction. Additionally, it will have an 8-ft. median with a 4-ft. raised island in the middle of the road along the bridge.
Other details include a 6-ft. sidewalk with an urban shoulder, and curb and gutter on the northbound side, while the southbound half would include a 10-ft. shared use path where pedestrians and bike riders will be able to cross the river. That part of the span will feature an 8-ft. shoulder and concrete barrier separating the path from the road.
The new 13th Bridge will provide a connection to the Augusta Canal Trail, Bartram Trail and the North Augusta Greenway. GDOT noted on its website that viewing platforms, decorative fencing and lighting are being considered for the project.
The current structure is planned to remain open with limited traffic during construction, with only two lanes remaining passable for vehicle travel. Once construction begins, motorists will likely have the option of taking two alternate routes: Gordon Highway, a few blocks southeast of the new bridge; and Interstate 520/U.S. Highway 1, further to the south
GDOT expects construction on the bridge replacement to begin by summer 2024.
The current 13th Street bridge was built in 1939 as a two-lane span using older design standards that no longer meet expectations for lane and shoulder width, live load capacity or railing safety, according to GDOT. In 1991, the bridge was widened to four lanes, but the transportation department believes the structure's condition would continue to deteriorate without a replacement.
Officially known as the SR 4/US 25 BU/13th Street bridge on the GDOT website, the agency classifies the overall condition of the current structure as "fair." Its deck suffers from moderate cracking and spalls with exposed rebar, the superstructure is considered "satisfactory" with moderate section loss, and the substructure is in "fair condition" with spalling and cracking with efflorescence.
GDOT noted, too, that the old bridge has "an unknown foundation and therefore could be at risk for scour."
When work does get under way, it will begin at the intersection of 13th Street and Reynolds Street near Augusta's waterfront and extend to the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Center Street in North Augusta.
As part of the planning process, GDOT is currently seeking public comment on the proposed 13th Street bridge replacement project on its website through Aug. 13. The bridge plans, along with maps, renderings, and a video of the proposed project, also can be found at https://bridge-replacement-0013927-gdot.hub.arcgis.com/
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