SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The State Transportation Board has voted to move forward in updating the Talmadge Bridge in Savannah.  

The updates will include replacing the existing cables, bridge bearings, and joints as part of planned maintenance.  

The bridge was designed and built in the late 1980’s, and officials say cable technology has greatly improved in the last 30-plus years. 

Although the bridge’s current cables are routinely inspected and deemed safe, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), the cables have faced wear and tear in a saltwater environment.

Another update will be raising the profile of the existing bridge to obtain a higher vertical clearance which will improve navigation within the channel and extend the life of the bridge. 

“Our state board approved the project delivery model to allow preconstruction development to move forward. The construction start date and anticipated completion are to be determined.  During construction, we anticipate traffic interruptions, but Georgia DOT will do all it can to mitigate delays to daily commutes.” said Kyle Collins, Communications & Marketing Strategist for GDOT.

At the current 185-foot clearance, GDOT says the bridge limits efficient access for larger ships, which need to travel under the bridge to reach the Port of Savannah. The challenge will be magnified in the coming decades as larger ships become increasingly common because of their fuel efficiency and lower overall operating costs. 

Collins says design work is anticipated to begin at the end of 2023 once contractors agree. The project will cost an estimated $150 million to complete.