DADE CO., Ga – On the very weekend that contractors reopened a section of I-85 in metro Atlanta, a GDOT contractor in Dade County was putting the final touches on a bridge rebuild that is a first of its kind in Georgia.
Crews spent months building a new bridge to take Highway 299 traffic over I-24. In this case, they did it with surprisingly little disruption to traffic.
“There’s a lot of benefits here,” says GDOT’s Natalie Dale. “It’s an innovative approach to bridge reconstruction.”
Instead of demolishing the old bridge, disrupting traffic on Highway 299 for months, contractors built the new bridge right beside the old one. Highway 299 remained open the entire time.
Once the new bridge was complete, only then did contractors close Highway 299 for demolition.
Over the course of three days, giant lifts hoisted the new sections of bridge and moved them into place. A temporary hiccup with one of the lifts caused a short delay.
Some are asking why GDOT didn't use the same method to build the new sections of I-85 in Atlanta while crews demolished the areas damaged by fire. Dale says it's a matter of space, that roads and businesses surround most metro Atlanta bridges, preventing crews from building a new bridge right beside the old one.
“We just don’t have the space in urban areas, but in areas like Dade County, it’s a great innovative approach,” says Dale.
Still, GDOT is learning from its first experience, and looking for other places where they can use the new bridge replacement technique.