TRAFFIC: Heavy delays expected as GDOT repairs railing on I-20 bridge

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Saturday, March 2, 2019
News 12 @ 11

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Brace yourselves. I-20 westbound over the Savannah River is expected to have lots of delays as crews work to repair concrete railing on the bridge. They're closing at least one lane during the project.

Officials say the delays are expected to be bad. But this project is just the beginning of several years worth of work, closures, and delays as GDOT replaces the I-20 bridges.

70,000 cars travel the two-state over the I-20 bridge every single day. David Hyatt is one of them.

Hyatt goes over the bridge from North Augusta into Augusta "at least once a day," he said.

The gateway between Georgia and South Carolina -- the I-20 bridge -- has taken a beating over the years. It's been around since the 1960s and David knows just how big of a headache it can be.

"Everytime there's a lane closure, the traffic backs up." said Hyatt.

When there's an accident, first responders have to close the lane because there's only a two foot shoulder on the bridge. But that is changing.

Work started on the three-year bridge replacement project in January to make the bridge six lanes with a 12-foot shoulder. Now, we're about to be hit with more work.

"Hopefully there won't be any traffic jams in the future." said Hyatt.

Weather permitting, starting on Monday, March 4 at 9:00 a.m. -- just as you're trying to get to work -- GDOT is closing the westbound lanes. Two sections need to be fixed, so depending on what crews are doing, the inside or outside lane could be closed, according to GDOT officials. The closures stop at 4:00 p.m. but don't get too excited because they'll be going on until Thursday.

"I'll find an alternate route," said Hyatt. "I'll go through town because I know what the traffic will be here."

Luckily there are alternate routes to pass between the two-state, like I-520, the 5th Street Bridge, Sand Bar Ferry Road, Gordon Highway, and Georgia Avenue/13th Street.

"It'll be an improvement obviously," said Hyatt.

So grab your Advil, leave the house a little bit earlier, and remember: the headache is temporary to make your drive quicker and safer.

This is just the beginning of several years of delays and backups on the bridge. GDOT officials say they hope to break ground on the bridge replacement construction phase by the end of the year and complete the whole project by 2022.