It seems like years since traffic was last seen traveling across the Broad Avenue Bridge.
Plans were made to build a new structure, but were put off because of Purple Bankclimber Mussels living around the foundations. Now the Georgia Department of Transportation is moving forward, but if you look at it today, progress seems to be at a snail's pace--which is bad for local traffic.
"When that Broad Avenue Bridge is not functioning, it puts major stress in terms of traffic on the Oglethorpe Bridge. It creates adverse traffic patterns for us; we have to re-time the lights in order to get people through there," Said City Manager, James Taylor.
GDOT is in the bidding process and will review those bids in November and award the bid before the year is out.
"Once they go through that process, then they'll issue a notice to proceed and that probably won't take place till the first of next year," said Engineer Director, Bruce Maples.
Work is expected to begin in 2012. It will take two years to demolish and build the new bridge which will be freestanding, meaning the foundations will only be on land instead of in the water so as not to disrupt Flint River wildlife. As to why no one is allowed on the current bridge--Maples says it's just too dangerous.
"When they actually did the dive to look at the footings, it was determined it was in such bad shape that they're floating. The bridge is floating."
Some of the footings aren't touching the river floor, making it dangerous for even pedestrians.
The city is committed to finishing the Broad Avenue Bridge project because somewhere down the line, they plan on expanding the Oglethorpe Bridge to one more lane and they're going to have to detour that traffic somewhere else.
"It's key, it brings people downtown, it puts people in the center of Albany. It was a major site for our fireworks a few years ago," said Taylor.
And bringing people in is key to the redevelopment and growth of not only downtown, but the city as a whole.