Macon’s Second Street “hump bridge” is well known, mostly, for its potential to cause some real damage to a set of car shocks.
Take the 1957 Ford Fairlane that former City Councilman Theron Ussery’s was driving back in 1962.
“I went over that thing (bridge) about 25 miles per hour,” Ussery said. “I lost touch with the ground and when I landed, I busted all four shocks on the car. I had to park it on the side and have my father come and get me and he was not a happy camper.”
The hump has busted its last set of shocks.
Ussery and other Macon-Bibb County officials Wednesday celebrated the bridge’s removal. The bridge that connects west Macon to downtown will be replaced as part of the $13 million Second Street Corridor project.
The new bridge at the intersection of Second Street and Ash Street is expected to be in place by the end of the year.
“This also serves to get us over the hump and on the downhill run toward the completion of the south downtown connector, which people have talking about in this community for somewhere between 20 and 30 years,” said Mayor Robert Reichert.
The bridge phase of the project was beset by delays over the last couple of years, including design changes mandated by Norfolk Southern. The connector’s cost rose by $5 million because of the work related to building the new bridge.
“About a year ago we were scheduled to get started and some unforeseen things happened,” said Caleb Hutchinson, project manager with Sheridan Construction. “We worked closely with the utility companies to redesign and relocate their infrastructure.”
The complete removal of the bridge will continue over the next couple of weeks. Then there will be an excavation stage that will be about 25 feet deep and 100 foot in length on each side.
Once the new bridge is in place, new sidewalks and lighting will be installed.
The first two phases of the corridor project involved the rerouting of Little Richard Penniman Boulevard and adding new pedestrian lights, 10-foot-wide sidewalks and more green space.
The majority of the funding for the connector is from special purpose local option sales tax. A portion of the bridge removal is being paid through the refinancing a downtown tax allocation district bond.
Another $1.3 million budgeted for Second Street went to the “vision block,” which has revitalized a section between Poplar and Cherry streets.
Work continues on an extension of the vision block that’s being paid through a $1.5 million state transportation grant.
“This will be an amazing project,” County Commissioner Larry Schlesinger said Wednesday “It’ll really enable the development that we’ve seen started downtown to radiate out this way.”