BULLOCH CO., GA (WTOC) - People who live on Akins Pond Road outside of Statesboro could be facing a detour for several months.
Bulloch County closed Akins Pond Bridge late Monday after a state inspection found problems underneath. County leaders will get a detailed report but say the inspectors found four to six pilings that needed repair or replacement. The county commission chairman tells us they're already contacting someone to do the work and reopen it.
"We have actually contracted a bridge builder who'll come down and assess the situation, and, under state guidelines, give us an estimate," said Roy Thompson, County Commission Chair.
If the roadblocks and flashing signs don't stop you from driving down Akins Pond Road, a four-foot mound of dirt and concrete barricades will. Tim Giles has lived there for 15 years and can see the roadblock signs from his driveway.
"My wife and I go back and forth across that bridge once or twice a day, both of us," Giles said.
Jerry Hall Road is one of two detours Giles could take to get to a main road leading to Statesboro. He figures it's 10 to 15 minutes longer than going over the bridge.
Thompson says the repairs will take time.
"I can assure you the county will do everything possible to get it fixed and open as soon as possible," Thompson said.
He says the state gives cities and counties some latitude on awarding contracts without a bidding process when it comes to emergencies like this one. Tim, for one, doesn't mind.
"Yeah, I'd prefer convenience. I think I'd rather just see them get it done," he said.
Thompson says he's heard from drivers in the past that the old narrow bridge won't accommodate tractors without stopping traffic. He says a replacement bridge might be a few feet wider - in the future. For now, they'll get repairs done, then replace the bridge when they can.