New Ogeechee River Bridge almost complete

EFFINGHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - A 70-plus year old bridge that's seen more than its share of truck traffic is about to be obsolete.

Thursday, elected leaders cut the ribbon on the nearly finished new Ogeechee River Bridge on Hwy 80 near Dasher's Landing.  It's your tax dollars and two years of crews at work.

Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Ann Purcell said, "This is a big safety project. A big improvement for Highway 80.

Anywhere from 9,000 to 10,000 drivers cross this one bridge every day; 25 percent of those drivers are truckers.

"We're not naïve," said Representative Bill Hitchens, District 161. "That's why you see them right now. If they're overweight and they know it, they're going to try and avoid those scales."

Hitchens is talking about the weigh station on I-16, and that added weight just added wear and tear to Hwy 80.

Effingham County Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie said, "You pick up speed on that old bridge, it'll actually start bouncing the car like in a boat motion and that can cause you to lose control of the vehicle."

He's seen some bad ones on this stretch of road.

"Once you have one it stops the traffic. Now you've got people stopping on a highway that's usually moving and you'll have two three wrecks to come along with that," he said.

The new bridge is 14 feet wider, and the shoulder is seven feet wider on each side to help traffic continue to move and help first responders get to any wrecks that happen on or near the bridge.

"The concrete surface here is improved, so that hopefully you won't have the hydroplaning that you had on the old bridge. We will be seeing a much easier way for the traffic to flow here," said Purcell

And it will flow as our port and surrounding commerce continue to grow.

Representative Jon Burns, Majority Leader in the GA House added, "When it comes to transportation, not only is Savannah and Chatham County, Effingham, Bulloch and Bryan, we're all joined at the hip, and this is just one more piece of the puzzle.

Leaders planned the ribbon cutting around the target completion date - but the bridge isn't quite finished due to recent rains.

We will let you know when that bridge is open for travel.

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