Once upon a time, Rogers Bridge was a one-way route allowing cars to cross the Chattahoochee River between Duluth and Johns Creek.

These days, the path on the old Pennsylvania Petit-type steel truss bridge, which dates back to the early 1900s, is unusable as a path. The covering that cars once drove on has deteriorated. Only the metal truss and the metal beams that held up the road remain. Plants have grown up around each end of the bridge.

It’s just a shell of what it once was.

Officials in Duluth, Johns Creek and Gwinnett and Fulton Counties are looking to change that however with plans to rehabilitate or replace the bridge to provide a new pedestrian and bicycle pathway. Johns Creek recently bought new parkland on its side of the Chattahoochee River, opposite Duluth’s Rogers Bridge Park.

“It’s been out of service for a long time so it hasn’t been able to be used for anything except basically holding a water line,” Duluth City Engineer Margie Pozin said. “the entities involved wanted to repurpose that bridge to use for bicycles and pedestrians so that it could offer access between the two cities, the two counties, the two parks.

“It would also offer access to the Western Gwinnett Bikeway.”

The next step in determining how to go forward with re-establishing the bridge as a connection between Johns Creek and Duluth, however, is to seek public input on four options being considered for its future. To that end, Duluth will hold a public input session from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., on Thursday in the City Hall Community Room, 3167 Main St. to gather input.

“Basically, what we want is for the public to come in and ask questions, whatever questions they have, view the concepts, give us their opinions on what’s important to them and what’s not important to them (and) what they like and dislike about the concepts,” Pozin said.

“We’re trying to arrive at a preferred alternative to move forward with, but we don’t really have a preconceived notion of what needs to be done. We ultimately know it has to bring value to the users but it’s in everybody’s best interest to find out what the users want.”

The options being considered for the bridge include:

• Rehabilitating the bridge with its existing truss and recreating its pathway surface (a $5.1 million cost)

• A hybrid of rehabilitating the existing truss while adding a new separate pathway structure within that shell (a $4.6 million cost)

• Tearing down the existing bridge and building a nearly identical truss bridge in its place (a $4.2 million cost)

• Tearing it down and building a new bridge with a different looking arch bridge (a $4.2 million cost)

A similar meeting was held on Tuesday night in Johns Creek. Pozin said residents who cannot attend the Duluth meeting can visit www.duluthga.net/rogersbridgeproject and see the four concepts being considered, as well as a fact sheet about the projects and the four concepts. Information is available in English, Korean and Spanish.

Public comments will be taken until May 1, she added. There is an electronic comment form available on the city’s Rogers Bridge project website.

The information will be used to pick a preferred concept that reflects the public input in late spring. That concept will be used to develop a concept report that will be submitted to the Georgia Department of Transportation later this year.

“We need to have a concept report done and into Georgia DOT this fall so in order to do that, we would have to decide pretty much in May … (or) kind of in the May to June time frame what we’re moving forward with with the preferred alternative so we can go ahead and get the concept report started,” Pozin said.

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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