Cities ask GDOT to make 13th Street Bridge safer

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The Georgia Department of Transportation has plans to replace the 13th Street Bridge that connects Georgia to South Carolina.

The neighboring cities are hoping that GDOT will make it safer for people walking and biking across it.

During the week you can find Carrie Brown outside near the bridge walking on Augusta's Riverwalk.

"I walk almost everyday as long as the weather lets me during my lunch break," Brown.

On the weekends you can find her across the river, "We drive down here and usually we'll just park at the greenway and bike over there."

There's never a day where she hits both,
because she does not want to go over the 13th Street Bridge.

"I don't even walk it and that's just me so for me to bring my kids out with here with a bicycle when they're still unsteady, no," said Brown.

In a few years that could change when GDOT replaces the bridge.

Right now GDOT's plans include sidewalks but no bike lanes, so North Augusta and Augusta are working together to add them.

North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover said, "We need something that's segmented from the rest of the bridge so people feel safe, there are protective measures in place to keep people from going over the sides."

GDOT has asked both cities to write letters about what they want added and possible ways the cities could fund extra amenities.

Glover said, "I think we would try to find either sales tax revenue of some type whether its capital project sales tax or hospitality taxes if we could use it for that purpose."

The goal is to connect Augusta's Riverwalk with the canal trail and North Augusta's Greenway.

"However best we could tie in our Greenway and then Augusta's Riverwalk and what they've got going on with the canal," said Glover.

Carrie is living proof that if the bridge is transformed
she'll be using it. As to how often, she said "Every weekend we would use it as long as the weather lets us."

Augusta says they are hoping GDOT will pay for their half of the local amenities, but at this time neither city knows exactly how much the amenities they want to see would cost.

GDOT says they hope to have the final design by this end of 2019 and they hope to start construction by the end of 2022.