COVINGTON - County commissioners have agreed to put the Oak Hill Road bridge project out to bid. The bridge has been on the list of needed transportation projects since at least 2005. The bridge over Snapping Shoals Creek is the only remaining bridge in the county to have wood pilings, said Chairman Keith Ellis. The estimated cost to replace the bridge is between $1.1 million and $1.2 million, funded through 2005 and 2011 SPLOST revenues.
The bridge will be closed three to four months once construction begins. The county will save around $600,000 by not having to build a bypass around the bridge, Ellis said.
“We elected to save the taxpayers money,” he said, adding that Bethany Road is the most likely detour route.
There are approximately 4,000 vehicle trips across the bridge each day, Transportation Director Tom Garrett previously said. The bridge was built in 1960 and recently was downgraded from a capacity of 13 tons to 10 tons. School buses and other large vehicles are not safe to cross the bridge. School bus traffic has been rerouted since early this year.
In other news, commissioners approved a material purchase totaling $10,692.32 from low bidder Foley Products for a culvert replacement on Rosser Road. The county’s public works department will handle the replacement in-house.
Ellis said one lane of the road will be left open so nearby residents and emergency vehicles have access. Ellis said the culvert has almost completely washed away, and school buses are dropping students off to walk across that area rather than risk driving over it. As head of roads and bridges and public works, Ellis is authorized to approve material purchases up to $10,000. This project exceeded that amount, so, under the county’s new purchasing policy, the purchase had to go before the board for approval.