The Back River Bridge transition opened both north and southbound lanes Thursday afternoon.
Drivers are now crossing over the new bridge in both directions. The old bridge is now only open to traffic coming off of Hutchinson Island going toward South Carolina. Crews will work the next couple of weeks to create a a merging lane.
Department of Transportation officials say they will be taking the old bridge down and recycling the concrete parts - grinding it up and using it towards other projects.
However the bridge in its entirety was not salvageable because it was more than 60 years old -- it did not meet today's safety standards. The new bridge will now have a much wider shoulder which is critical for emergencies.
"Emergency vehicles couldn't get in and it took longer for them to get to victims so we want to make sure now everyone will get to enjoy this safer bridge-- it's wider-- it's 43 feet wide,” Jill Nagel, GDOT, said.
An average of 19,000 drivers cross over the bridge every day and the new bridge was designed for more than 30,000 drivers.
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