Longest Bridge in Georgia

The Sidney Lanier Bridge is often called the longest bridge in Georgia. There may be longer spans over swamps and lowlands, but the Sidney Lanier deserves mention as it is truly a remarkable bridge. On the bay of the Brunswick River, the bridge is in the middle of nowhere. Half way between Jacksonville Florida and Savannah Georgia, Brunswick is a less notable place than the infamous nearby Jekyll Island. Also adjacent to St. Simons Island, US Interstate 95 is almost three miles west of the Sidney Lanier Bridge.

The Sidney Lanier Bridge is incredible. With a roadway 200 ft above sea level, it is nearly as tall as San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Opened in 2003, the Sidney Lanier has two lanes in each direction, and dozens of cars use the bridge every month. Its modern design is a postcard, and its cable stay towers reach the height of a 50 story skyscraper.

Wikipedia slide show

Aside from being a jobs program, the bridge was built because there has always been a bridge there. We couldn’t live without it. It connects downtown Brunwick Georgia with a road to Jekyll Island, and with a direct path to I-95 south, useful for trade with Florida. Brunswick Georgia is the largest port in Georgia for importing automobiles.

Savannah fans will brag about the Talmadge Memorial Bridge, nearly two miles long vs only 1.5 miles for the Lanier. But Lanier’s longest span is 1,250 ft to the Talmadges 1,100 ft. Both bridges have a clearance of 185 ft below the roadway, room for massive ships to pass. Both Bridges are modern looking cable stay bridges, but the Talmadge was completed in 1991, more than a decade before the Lanier.

The Lanier bridge replaced an older box and girder elevating deck draw bridge design, by the same firm that designed the catastrophe struck I-35 Minneapolis-Saint Paul bridge. Age, design, the weight of construction equipment and pigeon dropping all may have led to the I-35 disaster, but a different scenario wove through the history of the older Sidney Lanier Bridge. First, on November 7, 1972 the ship African Neptune struck the older bridge, killing ten. Later in 1987, a Polish freighter struck the bridge, without casualties.

Poet Sidney Lanier fought in the Civil War, was born in Macon, Georgia, was famous for his use of meter, and the relationship of the meters of poetry and music.

Hunter Pope Golf Course, Monticello Georgia

Listed as semi-private, Hunter Pope is a friendly golf course of moderate difficulty near Monticello Georgia. While many holes are un-remarkable, the Par 4 first hole provides 350 yards of wide open play to make an easy start. The extremely short 3rd hole par 4 boasts a blind green from the tee, and the green is elevated and framed by woods and swamp.

Hunter Pope continues to mix the interesting with the boring, the short lengthed with the average. On a rolling piece of land, Hunter Pope is not overly hilly, but has several instances of teeing off down or up a long, slow climb. But the best at Hunter Pope is saved for last, as a Par 5 15th hole is one of the long, gentle climbs. Reachable in two, it is nonetheless restricted to those who can hit a straight 300 yard drive. The 16th is of average appeal, but 17 is a newly remodeled dogleg left around water, and 18 is a short par 3 over water. While 18 is certainly not a spectacular finish, it is a welcome reprise.

Considering the length and visual appeal of 15, 16 and 17, we would rate Hunter Pope as an above average finish, and the course as a whole as just slightly below average in appeal, but fairly priced.

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Georgia Guidestones

50 miles northeast of Athens Georgia are the Guidestones, purchased by persons unknown and sculpted and erected by the Elberton Granite Finishing Company.  Visible on Google Maps, the structure is nearly twenty feet tall and weighs over 100 tons. Inscribed with some odd philosophy in several languages, the Guidestones also contain some interesting astonomical features.

Noon indicator; a hole in the capstone shines a ray of sun that indicates solar high noon year round. During the earth’s rotation each day, the apex of the sun in our sky is captured when the sun’s ray aligns with the noon marking.

Celestial pole; a hole through the center stone points to celestial north.

Equinox slot; a slot in the center stone around eye level that allows the priestly pretender to calculate the northern and southern equinox of the sunrise and sunset. Vernal is the spring point at which the earth’s tilt is at the center of the southernmost and northernmost extent. Autumnal is the fall, or autumn centerpoint.

In modern times, we tend to pay more attention to the shortest and longest days of the year. In the northern hemisphere, December 21 is the shortest day of the year, also known as the winter solstice. March 21 is the vernal equinox, June 21 is the summer solstice and September 21 the fall equinox.

As the earth tilts during it’s orbit around the sun, one year elapses to complete the trip. The Georgia Guidestones provides an example of how we can use stationary monuments to measure the earth’s path in that orbit.