Darien River Bridge to remain open during reconstruction

Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 4:32 PM EDT
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DARIEN, Ga. (WTOC) - The Georgia Department of Transportation has decided to keep the Darien River Bridge open during its reconstruction after stating earlier this year it would close the bridge for the entire project.

Broad Street is where you’ll find a lot of Darien’s locally-owned shops and restaurants just steps away from the Darien Bridge. Local shop owners and employees say this traffic is what helps them stay in business.

Chad Simpson has owned Zio Carlo coffee shop for six years right next to the bridge. In April, GDOT announced they were planning to shut down the bridge completely during construction - a major concern for area business owners.

“We’re very dependent upon tourists and pass-through, whether they’re stopping to get gas, grab lunch, what have you, grab a cup of coffee from us hopefully, and get on down the road,” said Simpson.

Now, GDOT has reversed course and has stated while they’re committed to reconstructing the bridge, they’re working on a new plan that allows traffic to continue to flow through. Something Simpson says, he’s thankful for.

“It’s good news the DOT has been able to arrange for us to keep the bridge open just to have that through traffic for businesses like us.”

Businesses like Molly Jane’s Boutique on Broad as well. Susan Fell, an employee there, says the bridge brings in customers from all over.

“It makes it really easy, since we’re at the foot of the bridge, for people coming from Brunswick, St. Simons, Jekyll Island, to just stop in,” said Fell.

Fell says her neighbors feel the same way.

“I think it’s absolutely essential for the survival of our downtown area in Darien. And really for the convenience for all of the people who live here.”

GDOT says it will take several months to update engineering work on the new plan to keep the bridge open.

GDOT plans to present their new plans and timeline for the bridge’s at a public meeting later this year

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