Inquirer: Let there be light on Oglethorpe Bridge

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comApril 6, 2014 

ROBIN TRIMARCHI/rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.comThe street lights lining both sides of the Oglethorpe Bridge were out in this photo taken Wednesday.

ROBIN TRIMARCHI — rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com Buy Photo

The Oglethorpe Bridge over the Chattahoochee River is something of a gateway into Columbus, and at the moment it doesn't make the best impression, especially at night.

A Concerned Reader named Wallace called to say the bridge's streetlights are out, making the bridge a rather gloomy and possibly dangerous gateway into the city. So I drove over there to check it out because I rarely use that bridge.

Myself, I use the 13th Street Bridge for most of my river crossing needs, and no, that's not because the Chattahoochee Brewing Co. is right there at the foot of the bridge. Not entirely, anyway.

But Wallace was right. A lot of the light fixtures on the ends of the extensions are missing, as are a few of the extensions themselves. Hmmm.

Usually, when there's a streetlight issue, it's a Georgia Power issue because they have a contract with the city to maintain the city's streetlights. Most of them, anyway. But because these are different from most, I figured this might not be a Georgia Power issue.

Jacki Lowe, west region vice president for Georgia Power, said those lights are indeed not part of the company's contract with the city.

So I contacted Deputy City Manager David Arrington to see what he knows about the lighting on the bridge. As it turns out, it's a Georgia Department of Transportation issue.

"We're working with the DOT to get the poles and fixtures replaced," Arrington said. "The bases or foundations for the lights have some structural issues, so it's not as simple as replacing one of the lights on the side of the road."

Arrington said he expects to hear back from the DOT about a timeline for completing the project.

In the meantime, drive carefully over there. This is one busy bridge, a little busier than 13th Street but not nearly as busy as the J.R. Allen bridge. About 31,500 cars go over the Oglethorpe Bridge in a given day, according to city's traffic count map. (And no, the map doesn't indicate how many of those are high-speed police chases.)

Just for fun, do any of y'all know why the bridge was named for Gen. James Oglethorpe, the founder of the colony of Georgia? If you're reading this online, tell us in the comments. Extra credit will be given for creativity as well as historical accuracy.

Update

Concerned Reader Cathy, who called a couple of weeks ago about the sign company on Armour Road that had gone out of business but still had quite a mess in its backyard, called again to say that the mess has been cleaned up completely.

"The whole neighborhood wants to say thanks," she said.

Just doing my job.

Seen something that needs attention? Contact me at 706-571-8570 or mowen@ledger-enquirer.com.

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