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DOT to start work on bridge
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The Georgia Department of Transportation is planning to rebuild the Ga. 53/Jasper Highway bridge over the Amicalola Creek west of Tinsley Chapel Road in Dawson County.

The work will mean reducing traffic over the bridge to one lane from July 30 to Aug. 13.

A temporary traffic signal will be operational beginning July 30 to direct traffic across the bridge. Signs are now posted notifying the community of the upcoming work.

"Once work begins, the temporary signal will operate almost as a person flagging traffic around the clock until the work is completed," said DOT District Engineer Bayne Smith.

"Only one direction of traffic can cross the bridge at a time. When the signal is green, that direction of traffic can cross the bridge. Opposing traffic will be held stopped by the signal's red ball. Just do what the signal directs you to do," Smith said.

The existing concrete driving surface or bridge deck will be removed by hydroblasting, then a new concrete driving surface will be poured. The contractor will work around the clock on the project in one lane at a time.

As one lane is finished, traffic will be shifted to use that lane while work occurs in the other lane. The contract mandates the bridge must have both lanes reopened for use 14 days after one lane is closed. The work will wrap up by Aug. 13 at the latest.

"We can keep the bridge open to traffic by having the traffic signal direct traffic across the bridge," Smith said. "The capacity of [Ga. 53] will be reduced to one lane at the bridge, so there will be delays in the area."

Smith further urged that motorists slow when approaching the work area "and use additional caution."

This bridge is one of three included in a $1.9 million contract awarded to Comanche Construction of Marietta. The Ga. 11 bridge over the Middle Oconee River in Jackson County and Ga. 246 bridge over the Little Tennessee River in Rabun County are also a part of this contract.

The contract completion date for all three bridges is Sept. 30.