The 13th Street Bridge that connects downtown North Augusta with downtown Augusta is set to be replaced and widened in the coming years, and local entities are taking part in the discussion over what aesthetic elements should be added.
North Augusta City Administrator Jim Clifford, during an Aug. 31 study session of City Council, said the state of Georgia is funding the bridge, so if the city provides no input or funding, there will still be an updated bridge across the river.
He said that it will be a “very basic bridge,” but there are options for lighting, arches, stairways – anything that’s not a structural element but makes the bridge look better. Options on the table include faux arches, under-bridge lighting, decorative lighting on the bridge, pedestrian stairs, decorative fencing and access to existing trails. Those options would require local or state government funding on both the South Carolina and Georgia sides of the bridge.
“As of the present time, we have not identified a hard funding line from the state of South Carolina or from the county or even locally to make any of these aesthetic choices, so I still have some investigation to do into various funding lines between South Carolina’s (Department of Transportation) and also a number of elements within the county,” Clifford said.
“The bottom line is, to put it indelicately, the more money that we can come up with will lead to greater input and options that we can put on the bridge from our perspective.”
City Council members showed interest in the under-bridge lighting.
Council member Fletcher Dickert said the Augusta GreenJackets have “substantial interest” in the lighting aspect and suggested tying the lighting in with the GreenJackets so the colors could change with a home run, for example. He also mentioned the colors could be changed for holidays.
“If we can make it tie in with Riverside Village and help connect the two downtown communities together, that’s a real win for the entire area,” Dickert said.
He called the lighting a “low cost, high impact” option.
Documents on the city’s website related to the project state that additional lighting on the bridge and below the bridge would cost $950,000 total, which would be split between Georgia and South Carolina.
Construction on the bridge will not take place for a while, with utility work and construction set for 2025, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation website.
The project will replace the bridge in a staged construction plan to maintain two lanes of traffic at all time.
“The new bridge typical section will be four travel lanes with a center median, sidewalk on the east side, and 10 foot shared use sidewalk on the west side with barrier separation from the outer southbound travel lane. The new bridge will be constructed on the existing alignment,” the site says.