SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The Georgia Department of Transportation is moving forward with improving the Talmadge Bridge.

State officials say it needs to be raised 15 to 20 feet to allow for taller ships to pass underneath.
This is a unique project, according to Kyle Collins with the G-DOT.

“That new height is a goal or target. Not 100 percent that we can achieve. With this unique and innovate project delivery, we hope to gain as much as possible,” Collins says.

The nearly 185-foot tall bridge was designed and built in the 1980s and back then, engineers made sure the bridge could be modified in the future.

“We’re going to replace existing cables. So, that’s the major first phase — the bridge bearings and the joints. The second phase is to potentially achieve that raise profile, which would obviously support some of the larger ships that are in the channel.”

He says they are looking at late 2024 or early 2025 to begin phase one.

“We’re starting to get key members of that engineering design and contract team on board. Where it currently stands is… we’re hoping to actually get the construction contractor on board by the end of this year.”

The grand total for the project is an estimated $185 million. Collins says this will support economic development as well.

“Really… we just want to make sure this bridge has the best cable system that it can while obviously maintaining safety while we’re replacing those cables.”

He says the cables can be shortened while the bridge is still in use. He says no detours are expected for drivers, but some lane closures may be necessary.

G-DOT is welcomed the public’s feedback with a public comment section on their website during July 2023.

They have a target completion date of 36 months, but they do not have a final schedule at this early phase.