More than 2 million times a day, vehicles cross the 835 structurally compromised bridges in Georgia, according to a road-builders trade group seeking to urge Congress to fund more highway construction.
Locally, that includes two bridges over Cowpen Creek on Georgia 32/Harrell Highway, both about 1.5 miles west of the junction with Georgia 27.)
State officials stress that the bridges need upgrades but that they are not unsafe. Signs steer truckers away from those not capable of handling heavy loads.
The report compiled from government data is being used as reason for Congress to act before the current authorization of the U.S. Highway Trust Fund expires Oct. 1. The chief economist for the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, Alison Premo Black, said federal funds are needed to match with state and local resources to repair these bridges across the state.
“Letting the Highway Trust Fund investment dry up would have a devastating impact on bridge repairs,” Black says, noting the trust fund supports an average $119.2 million annually in Georgia bridge work. “It would set back bridge improvements for years.”
David Spear, a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Transportation, said the state needs to spend $500 million annually for the next five years to catch up with routine bridge maintenance.
“But the issue right now is not even long term; it is immediate,” he said.