The Georgia Department of Transportation says a major project milestone will take place today weather permitting on the Highway 17 construction project.
DOT Spokesperson Teri Pope said that crews are scheduled to set the first six pre-stressed concrete bridge beams for the new Highway 17 bridge over Eastanollee Creek today.
“The bridge beams are massive,” said Pope. “They are 127 feet long. They are six feet tall and they are pre-stressed concrete beams. They are custom designed for one place in this bridge. They are really like puzzle pieces and will only fit in one place. Each beam is stamped to tell you exactly which beam (goes) on which span so they go in the correct order.”
Pope said the beams will be driven through Atlanta and up Interstate 85 to Toccoa, with them scheduled to arrive one at a time every 45 minutes to an hour.
If everything runs on schedule, she said crews should start setting the beams at about 10 a.m. with it lasting most of the day.
Pope did say that the work may cause delays along Highway 17 while these beams are set today.
“There will be some delays as we get that tractor trailer out of State Route 17 and down to the bridge site,” said Pope. “We also expect a lot of ‘looky-loos’ because it is really a cool thing, so we want you to know that it is happening. We want you to know that we do expect some delays and to please remember to pay attention while you are driving. Do not get caught up in distracted by the cool construction work that is happening.”
Construction of a new bridge over Eastanollee Creek is part of the larger project to make Highway 17 a four-lane divided highway from Memorial Drive in Toccoa to the Stephens-Franklin County line.
Pope said the project is currently on schedule.
“We are coming in to the beginning of construction season, so this is really our critical time,” said Pope. “We really hope for temperatures to warm up and to get some dry weather, so we can really make a lot of progress. Typically, March through October is our construction season where we get the bulk of the work done.”
Construction of the new, four-lane Highway 17 is scheduled to be complete by May 31, 2016.