By Amy Wenk
The condition of the bridge on Moores Mill Road in Ridgewood Heights again came before Neighborhood Planning Unit C at its regular meeting Sept. 2 at Trinity Presbyterian Church.
This time, however, Robert Warlick, a member of the NPU-C executive board, had good news to report.
“I think we are on the road to success,” said Warlick, who has taken a leadership role in researching the bridge, as well as serving as a liaison with city officials on the issue.
Since last year, the bridge that was built in 1924 has been a concern of the NPU because of the number of large trucks that travel Moores Mill Road between I-75 and Bolton Road. The safety and reliability of the bridge, which crosses Peachtree Creek, have remained in question because there are no load limits or bridge warning signs on either end of the structure.
Maintaining the Moores Mill bridge is important to NPU-C because if the bridge must be replaced, the Georgia Department of Transportation would do so only in conjunction with widening Moores Mill Road to four lanes.
Even though the bridge was refurbished in February and March — including sandblasting, priming and painting the structure, as well as cleaning out the clogged bridge-draining culvert — cracks remained in the bridge.
After he met with city Public Works Commissioner Joe Basista earlier on Sept. 2, Warlick said it appears those issues will be resolved.
“We got excellent response today,” he said.
Warlick discovered the bridge was inspected by the state Transportation Department before the recent refurbishing project.
“It is rated 63 out a possible 100 because it’s within the fair category of GDOT ratings,” he said. “The inspection and rating did not recommend any load limit limitations.”
In meeting with Basista, Warlick was told the bridge has a design load limit of 27 tons. Traffic on normal roads is capped at 40 tons. Moores Mill Road itself prohibits commercial trucks that exceed 30 feet, weigh more than 18 tons and have more than six wheels.
Hoping to get safe load limits posted, Basista asked principal civil engineer Michael Avo to look into the issue further and petition the Transportation Department for signs.
“I feel good we are heading in the right direction,” Warlick said.
Work is scheduled to start on the bridge before the end of this month. The cracks in the concrete will be repaired, and clogged drain inlets will be cleaned out. In addition, rocks will be added to the southeastern side of the bridge to counter erosion because “it is approaching the bridge and could cause structural damage,” Warlick said.
The scheduled repairs, which will take about two weeks, should result in an increased rating.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to hear the bridge goes up to 78, even up to 85,” Warlick said.
Since progress is taking shape at the Moores Mill bridge, Warlick said he will soon be satisfied the bridge is safe and reliable.
“There will be concerns about other bridges,” Warlick said, mentioning the structure at the intersection of Northside and Sagamore drives. “We will also follow up closely to make sure that the repairs are made as presented by Joe Basista and the members of his staff at the Department of Public Works.”