By DAVE WILLIAMS
Capitol Beat News Service
ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) has closed a seven-mile stretch of westbound Interstate 16 north of Soperton following the discovery of settlement in the supports holding up a bridge.
DOT bridge inspectors discovered the problem Aug. 4 during a routine inspection, Georgia Commissioner of Transportation Russell McMurry told members of the State Transportation Board Thursday.
“That’s why we do bridge inspections every two years,” McMurry said. “You look for things that may have changed since the last time you were there. This is absolutely a good catch by our bridge inspectors.”
The DOT is diverting motorists to an 11-mile detour around the bridge while repairs are completed. Ironically, the route of the detour includes a bridge overpass the DOT replaced two years ago after a truck knocked off its supports.
“The detour has worked very well so far,” McMurry said.
McMurry said the DOT plans to reopen one lane of westbound I-16 by Monday, although the reopening could come sooner depending on how the work progresses.