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Friday September 4th, 2015 8:31AM

GDOT ready to update public on planned bridge project in Banks Co.

By The Associated Press
GAINESVILLE - Georgia DOT will hold a public information open house meeting Thursday to discuss the proposed detour necessary for reconstruction of the State Route 63 bridge over the Broad River in Banks County. The section of the river in question is the Middle Fork which is 9.4 miles northeast of Homer.

It is scheduled for 5:00-7:00 at the Banks County Courthouse Annex in Homer. Georgia DOT engineers will be available to discuss the proposed project and detour details. There will be no formal presentation.

 The purpose of the open house is to present the project and the detour route to the community. We want you to know the status of the project and the detours that will occur during construction. Please come by and get the latest information on this bridge replacement project, said DOT District Engineer Bayne Smith.

The existing bridge was built in 1962 and does not meet current design standards. The bridge is 304 feet long, 29 feet wide and does not have shoulders. The new bridge will be 250 feet long and 40 feet wide featuring 12 feet wide lanes and 8 feet wide shoulders. Shoulders allow a safe place to move a vehicle out of the roadway if needed.

The detour will allow construction to move about twice as fast as building a parallel bridge and allowing traffic to use the existing bridge until the new structure is complete, GDOT officials say. There is also a cost savings of at least $150,000.

Passenger vehicle traffic west of the bridge will use a 5.9-mile detour starting northbound on SR 63 then west onto Wells Road then north onto Boling Road. Then traffic will turn east on Damascus Road to SR 63.

Passenger vehicle traffic east of the bridge will use a five-mile signed detour route beginning north on SR 63 then east onto Banks Academy Road and north to County Road 88/Prospect/Plainview Road. Then traffic will be routed west onto SR 83 and back to SR 63.

Truck traffic will have different signed detour routes to ensure tractor trailers do not use bridges with posted weight limits creating a safety hazard. The truck detour route west of the bridge will direct traffic on a 22-mile detour beginning at SR 63 and directing traffic west along SR 198 to SR 15/US 441 north to SR 105. The detour continues on SR 105 to SR 184 south and back to SR 63.

Truck traffic east of the bridge will be directed on a 24-mile detour - SR 63 to SR 198 east to SR 59 east. Then traffic continues to SR 320 north and back to SR 63.

GDOT spokeswoman Teri Pope said construction is currently scheduled to begin in fiscal year 2016.

After the meeting, you can view the displays of the project at the Georgia DOT District Office located at 2505 Athens Highway in Gainesville.

The plans will also be available online at the DOT website at www.dot.ga.gov. On the home page choose  Information Center next choose  Public Outreach and select the project s County and choose go. A list of DOT projects in that County will appear and you can select the one you d like to view. Newer projects are at the bottom of the project list.
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