Unsafe Yellow River bridge repaired

COVINGTON -- Repairs to the bridge over the Yellow River on Brown Bridge Road have been completed, and the Georgia Department of Transportation has declared the bridge safe for travel, Chairman Keith Ellis announced at Tuesday's Board of Commissioners meeting.

Earlier this year, the county received notice from the Georgia Department of Transportation that the bridge would be unsafe for school buses and other large vehicles if wear and tear were not immediately addressed.

The DOT said the bridge would be downgraded from a weight capacity of 16 tons to 9 tons, putting it below the weight capacity required for school buses, fire trucks and other large vehicles. But the downgrade never happened and traffic continued over the bridge with the county's assurance that repairs would immediately be made.

The issue was wear and tear over time that had worn down metal plates in the bridge, so that concrete touched concrete.

Buses transporting students to and from Porterdale Elementary, Newton High School and the Newton County College and Career Academy use the bridge.

Meanwhile, repairs to Mount Tabor Road bridge continue. The bridge was closed in February and slated to remain closed for approximately seven months to repair damage from the 2009 flood. The detour for the closure uses Almon Road, Iris Drive, Old Oxford Road, Cook Road and Sockwell Road.