GDOT plans, constructs and maintains state and federal highways. GDOT also assists local governments in maintaining their infrastructure, which includes bridges. And with some 8,000 bridges on Georgia’s off-system roads, there’s no shortage of local bridges in need of maintenance or replacement.
In 2019 Georgia DOT completed 24 bridge replacements on local roads in 24 counties across Georgia. The replacements took just over two years to complete. Many local municipalities would be unable to replace their bridges without the state’s help.
The new bridges enhance safety and quality of life for residents and enrich communities economically. Some of these old bridges were closed or had weight restrictions. The replacements safely accommodate school buses, trucks going from field to market and emergency response vehicles. Reduced construction times mean fewer travel impacts and minimized public inconvenience.
The bridge replacements, part of the Georgia DOT Design-Build Bridge Replacement Program, were delivered through bundled contracts—grouped by geography—with a handful of contractors. Bundling allows each contractor to maximize efficiency and streamline delivery for their geographic bundle. Bundled contracts are especially suitable in rural areas due to lower impacts to the traveling public. Using design-build methods further streamlines the process by combining design and construction into one phase as opposed to traditional delivery methods where these elements are sequential.
Georgia DOT completed the 24 bridge replacements—one in each of 24 counties—from fiscal year 2016 funds. These FY16 local bridge replacements represent an investment of $39.6 million. Similar plans are underway for subsequent years. As other states embark on similar delivery methods, they are emulating Georgia’s bridge bundle model. FHWA has written a Bridge Bundling Guidebook using GDOT’s program as an example in leading this trend.