AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – Some people think it’s time to renovate an old bridge that goes over the Savannah River.
Augusta business owners say fixing it would be a great addition to the community.
WJBF News Channel 6’s Stefany Bornman reports on the 5th Street Bridge that was shut down to car traffic for safety concerns.
South Carolina Department of Transportation closed part of the bridge when it stopped meeting the state’s standards. Now it’s starting to fall apart and although there are no plans to demolish it, some people WJBF News Channel 6 spoke with say maybe it’s time to think about another solution to the eyesore.
At one time this bridge was the center of history, now it’s a reminder of different times.
“People forget the fact that Broad Street at 5th Street, 5th Street was actually Center Street, which was the middle of Augusta Georgia and all the businesses started at 5th Street,” business owner Steven Fishman told WJBF News Channel 6.
Since the mid-90’s, this northern part of the 5th Street Bridge in North Augusta has been closed. Since then, it hasn’t been repaired or maintained. Now some Downtown Augusta business owners think it might be a good idea to re-purpose the abandoned bridge.
“I think it would after a while bring more people, more walking traffic,” said business owner Bill Prince.
“We’re now looking at bicycling a lot and walking bridges and things like that. It’s very possible that it might be used as an alternative.” Fishman said.
Turning the bridge into a tourist attraction would not only benefit both the Downtown Augusta and North Augusta atmosphere, but also nearby businesses.
“You know there’s an old saying in the business, if you build it, they will come,” said the Sidney’s Department Store owner.
Prince says there’s no use for it now and he doesn’t see the reason in keeping it the way it is. “Pieces have fallen off of it. I noticed there’s been some railing that’s been damaged for years,” he said.
While Fishman says he doesn’t think it should be demolished, but rather be rebuilt. “It’s a piece of Americana that’s going to walk away from us if don’t take care of it,” he told WJBF News Channel 6.
North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover says the structure is the responsibility of South Carolina Department of Transportation.
Some parts of the bridge have collapsed and that may force D.O.T. to consider demolishing it.
As of right now, he says there are no plans to re-use it for anything else.