Crisp County's Watson Road bridge closed for replacement

ARABI – The 74-year-old Watson Road bridge over Reedy Branch Tributary in Crisp County closed Friday for construction of a replacement.

The contractor replacing the bridge decided to close it slightly earlier than expected because some components of the bridge seemed unstable, Georgia Department of Transportation Albany Area Manager TJ Norman said. It was discovered during the contractor's periodic check of the project. The contractor is permitted to keep the road closed for 120 days.

The low-traffic concrete and steel bridge has a posted weight limit of five tons. It is structurally deficient, and the road shows signs of flooding from the stream. The new bridge will have two, 9-foot lanes and 2-foot shoulders. It will be raised slightly to provide additional clearance over the stream.

Construction requires a detour. Motorists will use Hawpond Road, Brock Road and Stephens Road to access properties on the north and south sides of the bridge construction site.

The $1.1 million construction project is part of Georgia DOT's Low Impact Bridge Program. The program delivers new bridges at a lower cost through the use of some prefabricated components. The LIBP helps reduce the number of structurally deficient local bridges that have posted weight limits or have closed. Georgia DOT inspects all bridges every two years.