Property owner requests closure  of county’s last wood bridge

Candler County’s last wood bridge, located on Wood Bridge Road.

He even hung out there when he was younger, but now Shawn Corbett reports that Candler County’s last wooden bridge has become a dangerous place and has asked that Wood Bridge Road be closed. 

Corbett owns 250 acres off of Meridy Road in northeastern Candler County, and his property adjoins Wood Bridge Road on both sides. 

“That bridge has been there 100 years,” Corbett told commissioners on Monday evening while petitioning to have the road closed. “High schoolers have gone back and to, and in my youth, I was there. But the difference between then and now is that it has gotten a little dangerous. It is not a place for just socializing anymore.”

According to Corbett, the wooden bridge is now a place for target practice and shooting weapons.

“I have a pond, and the dam of that pond is 200 yards from the bridge,” Corbett said. “People are stopping and unloading ARs and semi-automatic weapons and just shooting out there.”

In fact, Corbett said, he has had to call the sheriff’s office for assistance when a man was working on his dock. At the time, he said, somebody started “unloading a clip” and the worker had bullets “flying over his head.”

“I have an 18-year-old son down there all the time fishing and hunting,” he added. The request, Corbett said, “is not just from a nuisance concern, but it is a real safety concern. That is why I am here. It is happening more and more often. It has gotten to be a problem.”

Corbett cited other incidents regarding people shooting and dumping garbage from the bridge before asking commissioners, “If there is any way you would consider closing that road and the bridge from a safety standpoint.” He added that there would also be cost savings since the state Department of Transportation will have to spend money to keep the bridge in code.

County Administrator Bryan Aasheim informed commissioners that the bridge is entirely inside Candler County but that there is a road that approaches the bridge from Bulloch County. In order for DOT to take the bridge off of their inventory, Aasheim said, both Bulloch and Candler would have to close the road. 

Corbett stated that Bulloch County property owners are making a similar request there.

“If Candler were to vote and close the right of way  from where Wood Bridge Road starts to its terminus and deed that property to you, and Bulloch do the same on the other side, would it be your intent to tear that bridge down?” Aasheim asked.

“Yes,” Corbett replied. 

Because of COVID-19, Aasheim told commissioners that scheduling a required public hearing regarding this request would be difficult during this time. Corbett told the commission that he would be willing to wait until the required public hearings can be scheduled.

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