Preliminary construction plans released for Darien Bridge

Published: Dec. 15, 2022 at 6:00 PM EST
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DARIEN, Ga. (WTOC) - The Georgia Department of Transportation has released their preliminary construction plans for the Darien Bridge, that’s the one that connects Darien to Brunswick along Highway 17.

The bridge is an important part of the Darien community.

We now have a better idea of what construction on the Darien Bridge will look like. Local business leaders in Darien say that it remains critical that the bridge stay open through the duration of the project.

The bridge, originally built in 1944, needs repair, according to GDOT, who says it will continue to deteriorate if left as is.

“We have a huge workforce that travels from Darien to Brunswick, and vice versa. For our businesses, that could be hugely impactful for them to not be able to get quickly to work,” Darien-McIntosh Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Kat Hoyt said.

WTOC reported in July that the bridge would remain open during construction - welcome news for the community, after the state previously had planned to keep it closed for years.

“It was a huge sigh of relief. When I was able to read that they had changed it from 3-5 years being closed, down to maybe 30 days, that’s a big deal. It makes a huge difference in terms of our businesses.”

The construction plan includes building the west portion of the bridge first, and gradually moving traffic from the old portion to the new portion. They plan on closing the bridge for no more than 30 days, when traffic will be diverted to I-95, according to the plan from GDOT.

“It’s going to be a little different. When there’s construction on any roadway, there’s an impact. But, at least people will still be able to access them easily, and not be completely shut off.”

The construction plan also includes other things the community has been asking for – like a pedestrian and bike path - as well as a platform to use for Blessing of the Fleet, a McIntosh County tradition of blessing the shrimping boats for the commercial fishing season.

“I’m hoping that by expanding the bridge, you’re going to be able to connect those two areas of town. So, our natural resource area and Altamaha watershed, with the downtown Darien, that it just becomes a very cohesive experience.”

Construction isn’t expected to begin until 2026.

GDOT has scheduled a public information open house for the construction plan for Thursday, Jan. 12 from 4-6 p.m. at Darien City Hall at 106 Washington St.

Please click here to view the preliminary construction plan. There, you can also provide feedback on the posted plan.