Drivers In Pike County Hoping For Safer Bridge

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

Transportation officials say a heavily traveled bridge in Pike County could eventually fall apart if it is not replaced.

Hundreds of cars travel the Lower Johns Creek Bridge in Pike County everyday, but drivers don't breathe easy going across.

“This one here, it shakes with you when it's heavy, when there's heavy traffic on it,” says Patsy Vanzant, who lives by the bridge.

“It's pretty dangerous looking. I don't know how much longer it will hold up,” says Charles Lowe, who drives on the bridge everyday.

Transportation Department engineers worry too, but say it's not the cars destroying it.

“The continued use of the overweight vehicles just continues to weaken it day by day. It's just not strong enough to hold everything coming across it,” says Allen Newsome, Transportation Department Engineer.

The bridge is only safe for 13 tons, but people living nearby say they see trucks carrying as much as 60 tons using it.

“They sneak coal across it and everything,” says Low.

Transportation Department workers say they even closed it to trucks.

“That doesn't always help. We've had a lot of people stop and take the barricades down, move those out of the way, so they can continue to use this bridge,” says Newsome.

People say the next bridge is 45 minutes away and believe trucks don't want to drive that far. Transportation officials decided the only way to make sure the bridge doesn't collapse is to build a new one than can handle the weight.

“Hopefully, this will take care of it, the new bridge will,” says Newsome.

Engineers say drivers shouldn't worry. They say this bridge is still safe to drive over while the new one is being built as long as they can go under the clearance sign.

“It's great; it'll help everybody around here a whole lot. It'll ease your mind going across it,” says Lowe.

Construction crews believe they can build the new bridge in four to five months.

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