Park St. Bridge Public Hearing Next Month

The Toccoa City Commission is expected to re-visit the future of a city bridge at one of its meetings next month.

Toccoa Planning Director Connie Tabor said that the city commission will discuss the Park Stree tBridge during its March 24 city commission meeting, including taking additional input during a public hearing.

“We will have a public hearing to hear comments again on whether or not to close the Park Street Bridge,” said Tabor, after which the commission is expected to make a decision.

Last year, the Georgia Department of Transportation ordered the city to close the Park Street Bridge following an inspection and it has stayed closed since.

Norfolk Southern Railroad owns the bridge.

Toccoa City Manager Billy Morse said last year that the city could make the railroad fix the bridge with no strings attached.

However, he said at the same time that the railroad wants out of the bridge business and had offered the city other options, including replacing the bridge with a more modern bridge or repairing the bridge and then making a cash contribution to the city for it to take over maintenance and ownership of the bridge.

The final option the railroad gave is for the it to remove the bridge and then pay the city up to $150,000.

To help solicit input, the city commission referred the matter to the Toccoa Planning Commission.

In January, the Planning Commission heard public comments on the topic.

Some residents said they want the bridge removed for good, citing decreased traffic in their neighborhood and safety factors.

However, other residents said they want the bridge to remain open, calling it a landmark and citing its convenience for getting from their neighborhood across the railroad tracks to Currahee Street.