EPWORTH, Ga. – Fannin County Director of Public Works Zack Ratcliff announced Thursday that the weight load capacity for the Madola Road (county road 159) bridge over Fightingtown Creek has been reduced from a 10-ton limit to a five-ton limit.
According to Ratcliff, the changes came after the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) completed a recent inspection of the bridge located near Epworth in early December and found deficiencies in it, leading to the state-mandated change in load capacity. Ratcliff added that signs informing drivers of the new capacity have already been posted at the bridge and the public works department also plans to post signs in the near future at either end of Madola Road telling motorists off the change.
Ratcliff asks all applicable drivers to abide by the new limits to the bridge, which was built in 1956. At present, no short and convenient detour route is available for drivers of vehicles that exceed the limit. However, detours are available by way of Mobile Road through Copperhill, Tennessee, and McCaysville or via Mobile Road to Colwell Road to old state Route 2. Both Mobile, which eventually becomes West Tennessee Avenue in the twin cities, and old state Route 2 cross Fightingtown Creek and connect with state Route 5.
While Ratcliff conceded the new change creates an inconvenience for some drivers, the state mandate required the county public works department to comply with the GDOT’s determination for the bridge by changing the load capacity or possibly face a withdrawal of federal funding.
“The option is not there,” Ratcliff said. “(The county) has to be in compliance with the state.”
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