Moultrie Observer

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September 6, 2011

1st Ave. bridge to close Monday

Bridge replacement to take about a year

MOULTRIE — Motorists who use First Avenue Southeast to get around Moultrie will have to find detours starting Monday.

City of Moultrie Engineering Department Director Roger Ruis said the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) will close a section of the road between 10th Street Southeast and Talmadge Drive for repairs of the Okapilco Creek Bridge.

The bridge will have to be completely replaced, and Ruis said the section will be closed for about a year. The road is expected to be reopened around July 31, 2012, depending on how soon the repairs can be completed.

To accommodate motorists who use the roadway, Ruis said the DOT has set up a detour using Fifth Avenue Southeast. Motorists can access Fifth Avenue Southeast by turning onto 10th Street Southeast or Talmadge Drive then re-accessing First Avenue Southeast using the same roads. Anyone needing access to Veterans Parkway can also use Sixth Street Northeast and Fourth Avenue Northeast as a detour.

Traffic on Fifth Avenue Southeast is expected to get heavy at times, especially in the mornings and afternoons as Colquitt County High School begins and ends each day, Ruis said. Motorists are advised to slow down and take extra precautions driving on Fifth Avenue Southeast.

Ruis said a traffic light has been installed at the Fifth Avenue Southeast and Talmadge Drive intersection. The light was in flashing mode as of Tuesday morning, but the DOT was expected to have the light fully functioning by Monday and will be removed once the bridge construction is completed.

With the bridge being closed, at least two fast food restaurants, Taco Bell and Burger King, will be affected. Melinda Milliones, a manager at Taco Bell, said the road closure will definitely hurt business there, but she did not know how badly it could be affected. It is located right at the Okapilco Creek Bridge on First Avenue Southeast.

Despite First Avenue Southeast being closed in front of Taco Bell, Milliones said customers could still access them by using the Kangaroo Express entrance on 10th Street Southeast. The restaurant will remain open for customers while the bridge is being repaired.

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