AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – People in Augusta know all about the Olive Road Overpass for how often it gets hit, and so does CSX, and safety is the concern.
“In Georgia, it’s the second most struck bridge, but it’s also the most consequential. So absolutely, I mean safety is really paramount to us,” said CSX Regional Vice President Craig Camuso.
Camuso is telling city leaders CSX is ready to partner with Augusta to find a solution for strikes at the Olive Road overpass, as the repair bill continues to grow.
“We are up to around a quarter of a million dollars over the last three years with the bridge strikes alone,” said Camuso,
The company is looking at reinforcing the bridge to limit damage when it gets hit. That would raise the bridge, but by only two inches. But the real purpose is to make it stronger.
“If a car comes and unfortunately hits that bridge, I don’t want to think about the damage that could be done to the car, but that is really to protect the bridge and the tracks themselves,” said Camuso.
In the meantime, Augusta Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle is pushing a plan to hang a chain curtain at bridge height to warn drivers however Augusta traffic engineers are raising concerns about it.
“In the state of Georgia, a device like this is not an approved traffic control device. That doesn’t mean there isn’t one that is approved, I have not seen this particular device,” said Traffic Engineer John Ussery
But Guilfoyle points out the curtain is in place in other cities.
“Now the research on these other cities that have implemented the curtain…the chain and the PVC pipe, it’s been a success. Now will it stop everybody? No.”
CSX is saying it understands that closing the road is not an option. It says if the city wants to put in a curtain, the city would pay.
The plan is to get an update on the curtain plan in four weeks.