( Feature Image: Cranes lift Helen’s new pedestrian bridge over the Chattahoochee and lower it into place, as 50 to 60 onlookers applaud their effort.)
HELEN, Ga. — At 11:20 a.m. Thursday, two massive cranes lifted a 61,300-pound pedestrian bridge high above the Chattahoochee River and swung it precisely into place between International Cafe and The Castle Inn, completing a project seven years in the making.
The work had to be precise because crane operators had to lower the massive bridge onto two concrete platforms on each side of the river. The structure with pre-drilled bolt holes in the bridge had to line up precisely with the bolt holes in the platforms.
An army of workers from Square Deal Enterprises did an outstanding job of prep work. Once the bridge was secure, the workers drew a well-deserved round of applause from 50 or 60 townspeople and tourists who came out to watch.
Opening the bridge to foot traffic is still two to three weeks away. The next step is to pour about 100,000 pounds of concrete for the walking surface and allow it to set. However, Mayor Jeff Ash said he expects to have it open before tourist season begins.
The bridge is 157 feet in length, with a total width of nine feet and walking width of 7.5 feet. It is a twin span to the one directly across Main Street in front of Paul’s Steakhouse.
Helen Police began to detour traffic away from Main Street (Ga. 17/75) at approximately 8 a.m.
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