GA 376 Alapahoochee River Bridge to be replaced 2021-05-10

There was quite a bit of advance notice that the bridge that provides the most upstream paddling access to the Alapahoochee River is being replaced, and now the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) has given public notice of a variance for a contractor to replace the bridge according to specifications by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and Echols County, Georgia.

[Notice, GA 136 Alapahoochee River Bridge in Lanier County News]
Notice, GA 136 Alapahoochee River Bridge in Lanier County News

This bridge is on the WWALS map of the Alapaha River Water Trail.

[Map: Alapahoochee River]
Map: Alapahoochee River in the WWALS map of the Alapaha River Water Trail.

Apparently quoting a GDOT press release, Lanier County News, December 17, 2019, Echols Co: SR 376 daytime lane closures planned for this week,

TIFTON — A contractor will have single lane closures on state Route (SR) 376 in Echols County next week to collect soil data, part of preconstruction activities to replace an old bridge.

[GA 376 Alapahoochee River Bridge, Lanier County News]
GA 376 Alapahoochee River Bridge, Lanier County News

Drivers should expect lane closures Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. between George Road and Sardis Church Road. Advance warning signs will be posted and flaggers will direct traffic.

The contractor will be boring to collect soil test samples. This will provide information on the condition and type of underlying material for future construction, in this case replacement of the narrow, functionally obsolete Alapahoochee River bridge. The bridge between Statenville and Lake Park was built in 1956 and reconstructed in 1969.

Construction of the new bridge originally would have detoured traffic. That plan was scrapped after a public informational meeting Georgia Department of Transportation held in March. Some local citizens were concerned about the impact the detour would have on the agricultural industry. The detour time couldn’t be reduced to coincide with the time that agriculture is in a lull so the Department revised plans to build a temporary detour bridge on site. At this time the project is projected to be advertised for bid in winter 2020. The timeline is subject to change. says this bridge was originally built in 1956, and reconstructed in 1969. It’s a 420-foot concrete precast panel bridge with 28 spans. Plus:

Structural appraisal: Somewhat better than minimum adequacy to tolerate being left in place as is [5]

Deck geometry appraisal: Basically intolerable requiring high priority of corrrective action [3]

Water adequacy appraisal: Equal to present minimum criteria [6]

Channel protection: Bank protection is being eroded. River control devices and/or embankment have major damage. Trees and rush restrict the channel. [5]

Recommended work: Widening of existing bridge with deck rehabilitation or replacement. [34]

Estimated cost of work: $2,462,000

Here is the public notice.


May 10, 2021
Advisory Issue Date

Statenville, Georgia

June 9, 2021
Advisory Close Date

Control Number

Bridge Replacement on State Route 376 at Alapahoochee River
Echols County (PI # 0014073)
(GPS Coordinates: 30.703722, -83.121436)

This notice is issued to inform the public of a receipt of an Application for a variance submitted pursuant to a state environmental law. The public is invited to comment during the 30-day period on the proposed activity. Site Plans are available for review and are located in the following EPD office: Watershed Protection Branch 200 Piedmont Avenue, S.W. Suite 418 West Atlanta, Georgia 30334. Please contact Ms. Arnettia Murphy at (404) 656-4157 or e-mail to schedule an appointment to review the plans. Since the EPD has no authority to zone property or determine land use, only those comments addressing environmental issues related to air, water, and land protection will be considered in the application review process. Written comments should be submitted to: Program Manager, NonPoint Source Program, Erosion and Sedimentation Control, 2 MLK Jr., Dr., SW Suite 1462 East, Atlanta, Georgia 30334.

Type of Permit Application: Variance to encroach within the 25-foot State waters buffer.

Applicable Law: Georgia Erosion and Sedimentation Act O.C.G.A. 12-7-1 et seq.

Applicable Rules: Erosion and Sedimentation Control Chapter 391-3-7

Basis under which variance shall be considered {391-3-7.05 (2)(a-k)}: a & h

Description and Location of Proposed Activity: The proposed project consists of replacing the existing bridge crossing over the Alapahoochee River. The project is located in the Alapaha River Watershed. Disturbances will involve the clearing of existing vegetation and regrading of roadside. Post construction riparian habitat will be diminished. These impacts will be mitigated for through the use of best management practices (BMPs) throughout the construction process and the purchase of offsite mitigation credits.

Name and Address of Permit Applicant:
Mr. Eric Duff
Georgia Department of Transportation
Office of Environmental Services
600 W. Peachtree Street, NW, 16th Floor
Atlanta, Georgia 30308

Summary of Rules Requirements for Variance Application:

The application for a variance must include an approved Erosion and Sediment Control Plan with control measures based on sound conservation and engineering practices which meet or exceed the standards in the “Manual for Erosion and Sediment Control in Georgia” and which will minimize erosion and deposition of sediments on adjacent lands or into State waters.

For Additional Information Contact:

Andres H. Santana, Environmental Specialist
EPD, Watershed Protection Branch
NonPoint Source Program
2 MLK, Jr. Dr. S.W., Suite 1462 East
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Telephone: 404.463.3142 FAX: 404.651.8556

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!