HARDEEVILLE — Work could begin as early as this year on a new bridge on U.S. 17 at the Georgia-South Carolina state line.

The Beaufort Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/waS2qA ) that transportation departments in the two states have jointly applied for permits to rebuild the Back River Bridge.

The Black River Bridge is a low one that motorists cross from South Carolina to Hutchinson Island before US 17 climbs the high Talmadge Memorial Bridge leading into downtown Savannah.

The Back River Bridge is safe, but officials say it is almost 60 years old and needs to be replaced.

If there are no delays, construction could begin in June. Construction is expected to take at least two years.