Don’t Visit the Highest Bridge in Georgia If You’re Scared of Heights

Written by Heather Burdo
Updated: July 30, 2023
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Key Points:

  • The bridge spans the Brunswick River and serves as part of U.S. Route 17.
  • Originally built by Sverdrup & Parcel in 1956, the bridge connected the northern and southern sections of Brunswick using a lift span system.
  • The previous bridge was replaced by the current one, which opened in 2003.

The Sidney Lanier Bridge in Brunswick, GA, is an impressive engineering feat with four lanes for U.S. Route 17. Sidney Lanier is a cable-stayed bridge standing 480 feet above the Brunswick River. Learn all about the highest bridge in Georgia here!

The Sidney Lanier Bridge is the highest bridge in Georgia at 480 feet tall.

History of The Sidney Lanier Bridge

This bridge passes over the Brunswick River and is used by U.S. Route 17. Sverdrup & Parcel initially constructed the bridge connecting the northern and southern parts of Brunswick in 1956 with a lift span system. The officials replaced it with the current bridge, which opened in 2003.

The new, safer Sidney Lanier Bridge opened in 2003.

©RodClementPhotography/Shutterstock.com

This bridge is named after the poet Sidney Lanier. Another historical fact is that the old vertical-lift bridge was struck by ships twice, so it was replaced with a new one because of safety concerns. Many difficulties plagued the original bridge, including problems with functionality and fatal accidents. The new bridge required 95,283 cubic yards of concrete and 14,810,095 pounds of reinforcing steel.

Challenges During Construction of Sidney Lanier Bridge

The engineers and construction workers faced challenges while building the Sidney Lanier Bridge. Some of these challenges when building the highest bridge in Georgia were:

Wind

During the tower construction, winds got worse as the crews built higher. So by the time they reached the upper third of the tower construction, the wind was blowing at 30 to 40 mph, which made it difficult for the workers to continue working.

Height

The new bridge stands at a height of 480 feet, posing a challenge for the workers to work at such a tall structure. Some might question the wisdom or intelligence of workers dangling on cables on the Sidney Lanier Bridge 400 feet above the ground.

Maintenance

Traffic going to Brunswick had to take longer routes because of the old Sidney Lanier Bridge.

Cost

The new bridge cost $65 million to build, which was a significant investment.

Shrimp are commonly found under the Sidney Lanier Bridge.

You can normally expect to find shrimp under the Sidney Lanier Bridge.

©jekjob/Shutterstock.com

What Animals Live in the Water or Area Under the Sidney Lanier Bridge

The waters and area underneath the Sidney Lanier Bridge are home to various sea creatures. The bridge’s construction has created a habitat for sea life, which is expected only to improve as it becomes colonized by more sea life. Anglers have reported catching black sea bass and sheepshead on the concrete and rebar piles. Loggerhead turtles have been affected by the bridge lights, so measures have been taken to reduce the effect. Other animals that may live in the water and surrounding area beneath the bridge include:

Nearby Attractions

After your thrill-seeking adventure to the highest bridge in Georgia, you can also take advantage of nearby attractions. These include:

Lover’s Oak

This historic tree is believed to be over 900 years old. Additionally, the tree is named after two lovers who used to meet under its branches. The tree is a popular spot for photos and is a must-see for nature lovers.

Mary Ross Waterfront Park

Brunswick, GA, has a park that provides beautiful views of the Brunswick River and is ideal for picnics and outdoor activities. The park has a playground, a fishing pier, and a pavilion, making it a perfect destination for families to spend quality time together.

St. Simons Island Lighthouse Museum

A museum on St. Simons Island, GA, this place offers exhibits on the history of the lighthouse and the island. Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse for panoramic views of the island and the ocean.

Lady Jane’s Shrimp & Dolphin Cruise

A boat tour company in Brunswick, GA, which offers tours of the local waterways and wildlife viewing opportunities. Visitors can see dolphins, sea turtles, and other marine life on the tours.

Driftwood Beach

Jekyll Island, GA, has a beach with distinctive driftwood structures and stunning vistas. The beach is famous for being a favorite spot for photography and a peaceful destination to appreciate the beauty of nature.

Where is The Sidney Lanier Bridge Located on a Map?

The Sidney Lanier Bridge impressively stands tall in the city of Brunswick, Georgia. It is a cable-stayed bridge that stretches across the Brunswick River, facilitating four lanes of U.S. Route 17. This modern bridge was constructed to replace the original vertical-lift bridge, which had sadly suffered two ship collisions.

Here is The Sidney Lanier Bridge on a map:

Conclusion

The Sidney Lanier Bridge is a great destination for visitors to Brunswick, GA. From fishing off the bridge to exploring nearby attractions like Lover’s Oak, Mary Ross Waterfront Park, St. Simons Island Lighthouse Museum, Lady Jane’s Shrimp & Dolphin Cruise, and Driftwood Beach, there is something for everyone to do in this charming coastal town. Whether you want to relax, take in the scenery, or explore all Brunswick offers, you will surely have a great time here.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © PaulDaniel5010/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Heather Burdo is a digital marketing enthusiast who has written content for countless industries over the last decade. However, content related to animals, nature, and health has her heart. When she's not working her magic with content, she enjoys being with family, going for walks, camping, and gardening. Self-development is non-negotiable for her.

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