By: Robin Ford Wallace, Reporter
Executive Ted Rumley said Friday that the bridge over I-24 at Highway 299 in
Wildwood will have to be closed while necessary repairs are made, though not
right away. “It’ll be the spring, probably, of 2014,” he said.
He said the
Georgia Department of Transportation had approached him recently asking what
the repercussions would be if the bridge were shut down over the weekend for
assessment. Rumley said he’d answered: Chaos. “You would back traffic up all
the way to Nashville,” he said. “That’s the busiest bridge in Dade County.
Constantly, 24 hours a day, those trucks are in and out.”
Rumley, the closure will have to happen anyway when the work starts in earnest.
The bridge has been on GDOT’s to-do list since motorists began complaining
about it years ago. “Concrete had been reported dropping from the bottom,” said
Rumley said a
contractor has already been hired for the work. “This is not something they’re
just talking about,” said Rumley. “The money’s already allotted.”
But he’s not
expecting it to be pretty. GDOT is trying to work out a logical detour, he
said, and the highway exit will be closed except to local traffic, residents
going to and from their homes on either side of the highway. Businesses on 299
will suffer, and: “Think of the revenue hit for the county,” said Rumley.
Rumley, the bridge has to be fixed. “What else can you do?” he said.