GEORGIA: GPS, Tall Trucks Biggest Danger to Civil War Bridge

An historic bridge in Cobb County has become somewhat of a headache for truck drivers.

Trucks and cars with trailers attached seem to keep running into the warning beam in front of the Concord Covered Bridge. The latest was a U-Haul truck.All Posts

“And we have another winner, as the driver of a U-Haul tried to fit a 9-foot tall truck under the 7-foot warning sign for…

Posted by Cobb County Government

The bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places. It crosses the Nickajack Creek. Its one lane is 16 feet wide, and it is about 131 feet long. But those measurements don’t seem to be a problem.

It’s the bridge’s entrance that’s causing the most trouble. The opening is only 7 feet high.

Last year, the bridge was shut down for four months, and the county spent $800,000 to repair the main structure of the bridge. County officials say some 7,000 people commute across the bridge each day.

Since December, five vehicles have rammed into the top of the warning beam just before the entrance.

Ross Cavitt, the county’s spokesperson, said county officials think there have been so many accidents lately because of technology.

“People are just following their GPSs and take Concord Road through the bridge,” Cavitt said. “We are working with navigation app companies to see if they can provide some sort of warning or indication on their maps that there’s a low bridge at that location.”

Cavitt said the county has already installed one electronic warning sign leading up to the bridge. It uses radar to detect whether a vehicle may be too tall. If it is too tall, signs light up warning the driver to take a detour.

Philip Ivester, president of the Friends of the Concord Covered Bridge Historic District, said it is frustrating that drivers keep running into the bridge.

Ivester said, however, shutting down the bridge to traffic isn’t an option they’ve considered. He said people who live around the bridge enjoy it and they hope the new signs will reduce collisions.

Drivers should know, if they do run into the beam, they and their insurance company will be on the hook for fixing any damage. Cavitt said police will issue drivers a citation, and the cost for fixing the beam can range from $800 to $1,500.

The bridge has been around since the early 1800s but was burned down during the Civil War. It was rebuilt in 1872, 1963, 1983 and 1999. County officials hope the latest renovation on the bridge keeps it structurally sound for the next century.