PORT WENTWORTH, Ga. (WTOC) - UPDATE: The Houlihan Bridge is now open.
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, repairs on the truss bridge structure have been completed.
PREVIOUS STORY: The Houlihan Bridge in Port Wentworth has been closed for repairs for nearly two weeks now, but could be back open by the beginning of next week.
The swing span bridge will eventually be replaced.
It’s the only operational bridge of its kind in the state, which means these repairs can take a little while, especially the parts for repair are hard to come by.
The Houlihan Bridge was closed on July 23 because inspectors found stress on its steel supports.
“This bridge, you cannot buy parts, functioning parts for this. They have to be fabricated. So there is a cost in this bridge continuing to operate,” said Jill Nagel, GDOT.
Because of that, GDOT is opting to replace it with a much safer, reliable bridge. But construction on that won’t begin until the early part of 2023. So until then, the Houlihan Bridge will be repaired when needed. Right now, welders are on site working to reinforce the steel beams.
“Once the steel work is complete, the bridge will be reinspected and we will, if there’s no further issues detected, we will open the bridge to vehicular and marine traffic.”
As we’ve reported in the past, there is an option to relocate the Historic truss bridge instead of demolishing it. GDOT says interest has been expressed to do that, and discussions are ongoing, but there have been no commitments to move the bridge at this time.
Recent cost estimates for the design and build of a new bridge, which includes design, permitting, construction and demolition is approximately $54 million.