The Georgia Department of Transportation has awarded a $4.299 million bid for replacement of this old, narrow bridge on Ga. Highway 81 connecting Henry and Newton counties. The bridge spans the South River.

COVINGTON — Bridge engineering and building have changed since 1948 when the Ga. Highway 81 bridge over the South River was erected connecting Henry and Newton counties. The Georgia Department of Transportation has recently awarded a $4.299 million bid to replace the 72-year-old bridge to Wright Brothers Construction Company.

The proposed project will replace the existing bridge on Ga. Highway 81 on the current alignment and require a nine-month duration off-site detour during construction. The assigned state highway detour totals 34 miles, though local non-truck traffic can find shorter ways around the work closure. GDOT selected the off-site detour method and duration to reduce environmental and property impacts, while expediting construction and reducing costs.

The proposed typical bridge section has two, 12-foot travel lanes and 10-foot shoulders (4 feet paved and 6 feet unpaved) with rural side ditches. The total length of the project is approximately 0.42 miles. Additional bridge width would be constructed on the east side of the existing bridge, and the new profile raised. A temporary turn-around area will be constructed during the off-site detour to facilitate school bus traffic on the Henry County side.

Official completion is listed at Nov. 30, 2021. Timing of the construction detour will be announced when schedules become available.

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I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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