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Bridge near Portal reopened after emergency repair
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    Emergency repairs to the bridge over Upper Lotts Creek on U.S. 80 west of Portal were completed Wednesday afternoon and the road reopened to traffic.
    Citizens were not given prior notice to the road closing because it was an emergency situation and there was no time to send information to media, said Georgia Department of Transportation Area Engineer C. R. Jackson.
    Inspectors discovered a potentially dangerous situation Tuesday afternoon and decided to close the bridge while workers toiled overnight to make repairs, he said.
    "They worked on the bridge until 4:30 a.m. (Wednesday)," he said. "They ran out of materials" and continued the work later that day, reopening the roadway around 4 p.m., he said.
    "We found a settlement, a washout - a large hole" under the bridge, Jackson said. "It was about 20 feet wide, six or seven feet deep."
    When inspectors discovered the washed-out area, they closed the road and organized a repair crew, he said.  The condition is "common for an older type bridge" and could have been dangerous for drivers, which is why the road was closed immediately for bridge repairs.
    Usually DOT officials send out notices before roads are closed for repairs, but this time "we didn't have a heads up," he said.
    Drivers were directed to take a detour down Pleasant Hill Church Road over to Ga. 25. The bridge is located on U.S. 80 West about three miles from Portal, just east of W. D. Peacock and Aaron Station roads.
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