The bridge on Paper Mill Road over Sope Creek in east Cobb will reopen Friday after being closed for a complete reconstruction. The new bridge includes a 6-foot sidewalk to the south providing access to nearby trails along the creek.
Originally built in 1920 and reconstructed in 1970, the bridge needed replacing and had a sufficiency rating — a measure of safety — of 49.1 out of 100. Its reconstruction was paid for out of the 2005 special purpose local option sales tax.
Commissioner Bob Ott, who represents the area, has said the bridge was nearing a state where school buses would not be able to safely cross it.
More than 8,000 drivers use the bridge each day.
Valerie Crow, director of communications for Cobb and Douglas Public Health, is one of them.
She lives in a subdivision off of Paper Mill Road just north of the bridge.
“The opening cannot happen soon enough for me because, to be honest with you, it probably adds another 15 minutes each way to work,” Crow said.
Since construction began in May, Paper Mill Road has been closed at the bridge.
“During rush hour, all the buses are doing the same thing. It is just horrible in the morning,” Crow said. “It is just bumper to bumper.”
Crow sends her children to nearby Sope Creek Elementary and she’s ready for her family’s routine to return to normal.
Still, her husband plans to take their children to the bridge’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Friday.
“It’s something they’ll remember,” Crow said.
Students who won a bridge drawing contest at the school will cut the ribbon and shuttle service will be provided from Sope Creek Elementary, 3320 Paper Mill Road near Shadowlawn Road.
The Sope Creek Bridge isn’t the only project causing a headache for some commuters. A combination of different road projects underway by both the county and state has required some drivers to get creative.
Lower Roswell Road has been undergoing a face-lift for the past year. Bike lanes and a multi-use trail are being added while crosswalks are being improved and a traffic circle is being built at Lower Roswell and Timber Ridge roads. Lane closures aren’t allowed between 7 and 9 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m.
That project is on time and set to be finished by December.