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Officials Consider Removing Part Of Bridge After Ga. Drownings

National Park Service officials may remove beams on the Gwinnett County side of a 101-year-old bridge on the Chattahoochee River after two recent drownings by people jumping off it.
National Park Service officials may remove beams on the Gwinnett County side of a 101-year-old bridge on the Chattahoochee River after two recent drownings by people jumping off it.
Credit David Barasoain / WABE
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The National Park Service is mulling new safety measures after two recent drownings by people who jumped off a 101-year-old bridge into the Chattahoochee River.

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports officials are considering removing beams on the Gwinnett County side of the bridge.

Bill Cox, superintendent of the Chattahoochee River National Recreational Area, said Wednesday’s death and one on July 30 are the first involving jumpers as far as he knows.

It’s a 25-foot drop from the base of the bridge into the river, but some jumpers climb on top of the bridge, adding up to 20 feet to the plunge.

Cox said the bridge, built in 1916, is not intended for pedestrians. Officials believe removing the beams would keep people off since that’s how most jumpers have accessed the structure.

Park workers have stepped up patrols around the bridge, which is not part of an established trail and not easy to get to, Cox said. There have been 50 citations and warnings issued in the past month.

The time frame for a decision on removing the beams isn’t entirely clear, but Cox hopes to get the plan in motion by early September.

“It’s a priority for us,” Cox said. “We’re moving as fast as we can to hopefully keep people from hurting themselves or killing themselves.”