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Sep. 20, 2020
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Construction begins on SR 53/ Dawsonville Hwy replacement span

By Pamela A. Keene 
 
Using its new Innovative Design-Build process, the Georgia Department of Transportation is taking a different approach to replacing the westbound 2-lane bridge across Lake Lanier on SR 53 at the Chattahoochee River. Because of the accelerated approach to the construction, the new bridge is expected to be complete within the next 18 months.
 
Cranes and barges were positioned along the existing structure and shore in mid-July to begin building the replacement for the two-lane westbound Jerry Jackson Bridge, originally built in 1956 when the lake was filled. The new west-bound bridge will be constructed in between the current spans. 
 
“We’re anticipating a minimal amount of traffic disruption over the course of construction,” said Katie Strickland with District 1 office of GDOT. “Because the replacement structure is being built between the eastbound and westbound bridges, traffic will be able to continue to use these two spans until the new westbound bridge is complete.” 
 
The replacement project, managed by GDOT’s Office of Innovative Delivery using design-build techniques, is expected to be completed by December 2022. The Design-Build Team consists of E.R. Snell Contractor Inc. as the contractor and Atlas Technical Consultants as the designer.
 
The east-bound SR 53 lanes were built in 1992. This span will continue to transport east-bound traffic during and after the new west-bound span is completed.
 
In the past five years, the Georgia Department of Transportation has rebuilt other bridges across Lake Lanier, including Boling Bridge on SR 53, was begun in 2016 and opened in August 2018; SR 369’s bridges at Six Mile Creek and Two Mile Creek both opened in 2019; and the Longstreet and Bells Mill bridges on SR 11/US 129, which opened earlier this year. Clarks Bridge on SR 284 was widened and rebuilt in 2015. 
 
Additionally, traffic across Browns Bridge, sometimes known as the Big Green Bridge, along SR 369 will be shifted to the new structure by the end of 2020.
 
In Dawson County, SR 136 has a bridge that spans Toto Creek. The contract will be awarded to a construction contractor in June 2021. This bridge will be replaced in the same footprint, so it will close completely to traffic during construction and a detour will be established. 
 
“The new structures include shoulders, and a few were raised more than a dozen feet to accommodate boat traffic and the rising lake levels, Strickland said. “However, these new structures might be something folks have to get used to seeing. Gone are the days of the green metal bridges over Lake Lanier.” 
 
Hall County is responsible for maintaining the McEver Road Bridge, which was built in 1961.


The ‘art’ of Lake Lanier bridges continues with latest addition
Hall County and the Georgia Department of Transportation aren’t the only ones “working” on the bridges of Lake Lanier. Marine artist and Gainesville resident Anne Brodie Hill recently released her latest painting in her Lake Lanier Bridges series. “Thompson Bridge, Lake Lanier” is an oil painting on canvas that measures 22 by 28 inches. The original is currently on display at Gallery on the Square 118 Main St., Gainesville.
 
Thompson Bridge is a double (four-lane) bridge that spans the northern part of the lake on the Chattahoochee River side. Built in 1955, the bridge is part of Ga. 60, north of Gainesville.  
 
The painting is the sixth in her bridge series. The others, painted in watercolors, are “Browns Bridge,” as seen in 1995 from the former Lan Mar Marina, now Port Royale; “Bolling Bridge,” depicted in 1996; “Clarks Bridge” from 1998; “Longstreet Bridge” from 2001; “McEver Bridge,” as seen in 2003; and “Two Mile Creek Bridge,” pictured in 2006. She also painted “Lake Sidney Lanier 2000, a montage of images around the lake with a map of Lake Lanier. She included the Gainesville Bridge on Highway 53, in this work. 
 
Based on a photo taken by Jay Smith, owner of Frame-tastic, it depicts Thompson Bridge in 2019. Anne is offering canvas prints and reproductions of the image in two sizes through Gallery on the Square, Quinlan Visual Arts Center and Frame-tastic.
 

Posted online 8/28/20
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