The $1.6-million reconstruction project, which widened the vehicle bridge and added pedestrian pathways, began last summer but has been repeatedly delayed. Even the final task, painting lines on the street, was put off by Friday's rain.
The bridge carries an average of about 9,000 cars daily on Old 41 over CSX railroad tracks. The new concrete bridge is 48 feet wide with two 14-foot travel lanes and 10-foot sidewalks on each side.
The bridge was originally closed to traffic July 20, at that time, construction was slated to be complete by mid-October. It was temporarily reopened in August when construction was delayed by a railroad issue.
Construction was then scheduled to be complete on Dec. 21, but that was pushed back first to March 11, then May 31.
Bob Galante, engineering division manager for the county's transportation department, previously blamed the delays on snow and rain.
"This has been the worst winter, weather-wise, I've ever seen in the county," Galante said in March, when the opening date was pushed back another two months. "If the soil gets wet, we can't work to put things in place and CSX won't allow us to build over the railroad if it will pose any danger to the railroads that would affect trains traveling over them. We just have to look out for the safety of the construction workers, CSX workers and drivers."
The repeated delays did not increase the cost of the $1.6 million bridge project because the contractor, E.R. Snell, has no provision in its contract for additional funding if the project becomes delayed over time, Galante said.
The bridge was rebuilt and sidewalks were added to facilitate the heavy pedestrian activity on the bridge. Many residents will park on the northern side of the bridge and walk along it to access Kennesaw Mountain Park, but there was a very narrow pathway on the former bridge for the pedestrians to walk along as drivers traveled north and south over the bridge, something park officials have recognized as a safety hazard for years.
Stan Bond, park superintendent at Kennesaw Mountain, said park officials have long recognized the hazards of pedestrians trying to cross the bridge with no sidewalk and little room for them to walk across.