Plans to replace the Turner McCall Boulevard bridge over the Etowah River are in motion, with an informational open house scheduled for January.
Georgia Department of Transportation engineers are slated to present the conceptual design at a drop-in session from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16, at the Rome Civic Center on Jackson Hill.
The estimated $27 million proposal does not include widening the four-lane bridge that spans both the river and the Norfolk-Southern Railroad tracks between Hicks Drive and East First Street.
The concept plan — approved by GDOT officials in August — would replace the 63-year-old bridge with another four-lane structure. It would, however, include a 16-foot raised concrete median, maintain the 5-foot sidewalks and add “auxiliary” lanes at the intersections on either side of the bridge, according to the state report.
The bridge also would be raised about 2 feet to accommodate railroad clearance requirements.
Floyd County voters approved a $2 million earmark to widen the bridge in the 2006 special purpose, local option sales tax package. The money remains unspent, technically. But total SPLOST collections during that period encompassing the Great Recession fell short by nearly $4 million.
Both the Rome City and Floyd County commissions adopted resolutions in 2018 urging GDOT to widen the bridge when it’s replaced.
“One of the worst things would be to have everyone detour around the construction, go through all that mess ... and then have it look just like it did,” said County Commissioner Rhonda Wallace, who chaired the board at that time.
Two major issues emerged: GDOT is planning to fund the project with bridge-replacement money, which is restricted in use; and building a wider bridge would require extended detours around the busy corridor.
No detours are planned in the conceptual report, which envisions a two-year construction period starting in 2025. Traffic would be cut down to two lanes, however, for six to 12 months.
The report projects 11 existing parcels would be affected by the project, with the cost of new right of way estimated at just under $2 million.
Drawings will be set up at the open house and GDOT engineers will be available to answer questions and take comments. The Civic Center is accessible, but other accommodations for people with disabilities can be arranged with advance notice by calling Joseph Ciavarro at 678-721-5257.