Officials: Broad Bridge bids likely to go out next summer

ALBANY, Ga. -- Construction on a new Broad Avenue Bridge likely won't begin until late next summer, officials said Wednesday.

With $7 million of special sales tax dollars now allocated to the project thanks to a vote by the Albany City Commission Wednesday morning, the project has inched closer to beginning.

City Engineer Bruce Maples said Wednesday that the Georgia Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the city of Albany and several other state and federal agencies, is still formulating a plan to build a new bridge without harming the purple bankclimber mussel, which is federally protected.

GDOT has pledged $7 million toward the project, which is estimated to cost somewhere around $11.3 million, Maples said.

If it passes a November referendum, the $7 million allocated for the project in special sales tax funds by the city will go to pay for the $4.3 million DOT is asking for the local government match.

The remaining funds will be needed by the Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission to relocate the high pressure gas lines and water lines currently on the bridge.

Maples says that plans call for the complete demolition of the existing bridge and the construction of a new bridge which will span the Flint River without any structural supports actually in the water.

There was initial consideration for simply rehabilitating the bridge, but GDOT officials said that it would cost roughly $20 million with a 15-year lifespan, Maples said.