Georgia roads, bridges could benefit from federal infrastructure bill

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AUGUSTA, GA. (WJBF)– The Senate passed a $1 trillion infrastructure package with a significant amount proposed for roads, railways, and bridges.

The Georgia/South Carolina bridge construction at the I-20 state line is a blended project, with some federal and some state money. 60-70 thousand cars cross the bridge everyday, and the Georgia Department of Transportation is working on repairs.

GDOT Bridge Office is allotted federal funding each year for bridge improvements.

“We could always use more dedicated funding, just like any DOT could. But we’re watching the federal bill just like everybody else,” GDOT’s district communications specialist, Kyle Collins said.

GDOT inspects more than 15 thousand bridges, maintains 6,870 state owned bridges, and repairs 95 bridges on average per year.

“I believe it’s about over 7 out of 10 bridges in the state of Georgia are in what we consider good condition,” Collins said. “There’s some that you may see rated as structurally deficient, which that’s a little but of a misnomer where it doesn’t necessarily mean the structure is unsafe, it’s just that design standards have changed over the last 30, 40, 50 years.”

The bipartisan bill passed the Senate with all democrats and 19 republicans in favor. The bill must go through the House in order to be passed, but some House members say it’s not necessary.

“Georgia’s not going to benefit because we’re way ahead of the curve in infrastructure. I mean we’ve got orange barrels everywhere,” Rep. Rick Allen (R) said.

Dennis Warren is a truck driver who has driven roads all across the U.S.

“The roads are to the most part pretty good,” Warren said. “They do need some repair, but that’s just part of the wear and tear of all the people on the road.”

Collins says the extra money from the infrastructure bill would help them plan farther out into the future.

“Having the ability to plan 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years down the road with a mechanism of federal funding, that’s only going to help us be a more efficient DOT and also to help other states,” Collins said.


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