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Demolition work is scheduled to commence on the old Islands Expressway drawbridge, leading to a temporary closure of the channel beneath the bridge during the upcoming summer.

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has announced that crews will be closing the channel behind the bridge for several weeks, affecting boat traffic in the area.

Thomas McCarthy, owner of the Freedom Boat Club in Chatham County, expressed his awareness of the bridge removal project and its impact on the local waterways.

The existing Islands Expressway drawbridge is located in a busy section of the Wilmington River, serving as a midpoint for boaters traveling between the northern and southern regions.

While the demolition work is set to begin this week, GDOT anticipates a five-week closure of the channel, likely starting in August, to remove the drawbridge’s main piers.

McCarthy, who caters to marina customers frequently traversing between his marina and Thunderbolt, voiced surprise at the complete closure during the peak season.

He suggested postponing the bridge removal until cooler weather arrives.

McCarthy also proposed keeping the channel partially open, allowing boating traffic on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays when most boaters are active, and inconveniencing them from Monday through Thursday to facilitate uninterrupted work.

However, he and others hope that the Islands Expressway bridge replacement project will conclude sooner rather than later, as its duration has been perceived as lengthy.

There is currently uncertainty regarding the closure schedule, with questions about whether the channel will be closed 24/7 for the entire five-week period.

GDOT is working to provide clarification on this matter, and updates will be shared on-air and online once available.

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