The bridge on Wire Road crossing over Choctafaula Creek is being replaced this spring to meet regulations for safety.
Project manager Bryan Wood said the replacement, which began Jan. 11, should be completed and ready for students and residents to drive on by April 11.
“The bridge has reached the end of its useful life,” Wood said.
The three month project costs $441,000, Wood said.
The new bridge will be longer and extend the Wire Road Bikeway so that it reaches Chadwick Lane.
“We’re making it a few feet longer and widening it for a bike lane,” Wood said.
J.R. Smith, Auburn graduate of 1986 and resident of the Tamplin Farms neighborhood off Wire Road, said the project is similar to another bridge in Auburn that was recently replaced.
“They’re going to widen it somewhat like the one they did on Beehive Road,” Smith said.
With the bridge out, Wire Road traffic will be diverted from Martin Luther King Drive to detour on Webster Road on the east side and Chadwick Lane on the west side.
“It’s the best alternative for traffic,” Wood said.
The city has set up multiple detour and “bridge out” signs from Shug Jordan Parkway to where the road is actually blocked off.
Smith said he thinks residents who live in the area aren’t going to like the extra drive around the construction of the bridge.
“It doesn’t affect me now,” Smith said, “but when I go to Lochapoka, I have to go around a little ways.”
However, Smith said he thinks the city is being proactive in replacing the bridge now instead of waiting for an accident to happen.
“If it collapsed, there would be calamity and name calling and so forth,” Smith said.
The widening of the bridge for the bike lane will provide cyclists a safe way to cross the bridge.
The current bridge is too narrow and doesn’t provide enough room for multiple vehicle traffic.
Smith said he’s looking forward to having the bike lane on the new bridge because he said the old bridge was a rut in his bike route.
“When you hit that bridge and you meet oncoming traffic or you have traffic coming behind you,” Smith said. “You have barely enough room for two cars.”
The detour will only affect one Tiger Transit bus, the “long run” Wire Road bus.
The University manager of transit services, Rex Huffman, said this isn’t the first time something like this has happened to the “long run” route.
“It happened last semester and we had to deal with it then,” Huffman said.
Although the bus now has to take a detour, Huffman said no stop will be lost.
“We’ll still have one bus an hour at the same times,” he said. “It affects the general population more than it does us.”
Smith said he thinks the Wire Road bridge isn’t going to be the only bridge to be replaced soon.
“They have another bridge that they’re going to have even more of a problem up on North Donahue, just north of Yarbrough school,” Smith said. “It’s going to really effect people up in Camden Ridge.”