Atlanta’s 10th Street Bridge: City advancing plans to create a multi-modal route
By David Pendered
The task of retooling the 10th Street Bridge into a multi-modal route over the Downtown Connector is taking an important step forward. The process of acquiring land for the project is beginning.
The Atlanta City Council is considering a proposal to authorize city officials to acquire rights of way necessary for construction. No opposition to the paper is expected. Final passage of the enabling legislation could occur as early as the council’s meeting May 17.
The paper authorizes Atlanta buy property or condemn parcels if owners won’t accept the city’s good-faith offer. Five owners are involved:
- University System of Georgia;
- Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc. (three parcels);
- Pep GT, LLC;
- Atlanta Development Authority;
- SCI Georgia Fundeal Services, LLC.
The bridge is to open in mid 2024. Construction is set to begin in 2023, according to the schedule posted by Midtown Alliance.
Midtown Alliance has taken a leadership role in this project, as it did at the 14th Street Bridge over the I-75/I-85 roadway known as the Downtown Connector.
At the 14th Street Bridge, the state’s original plan called for a structure with travel lanes separated by a turn lane. Midtown Alliance became involved and the final result is the multi-modal bridge that exists today.
The 10th Street Bridge is the type of bridge once envisioned at 14th Street. The existing 10th Street Bridge has three travel lanes in each direction, separated by a turn lane. A utilitarian barricade fence on each side is to prevent projectiles from being lobbed onto the highway below.
To remake the 10th Street Bridge, Midtown Alliance hired an engineering firm to design a multi-modal remake. Kimley-Horn is to design a bridge that addresses the aspirations of folks who offered comments during a series of stakeholder meetings. This comment is representative:
- “Since this area of Midtown does not have much green space, and the area around the Connector in particular is currently very pedestrian/bicyclist unfriendly, both in terms of lack of shade and greenery and lack of wide barrier-separated walking/cycling space, I would suggest much of the investment for enhancement of this bridge/intersection be focused on softening the area with plants as opposed to elaborate metal or cement structures. If it can be widened like the 5th St. bridge, that would be ideal.
- “Also, since 10th Street is a gateway to Piedmont Park (including the Botanical Garden), making this a green entrance to Midtown would be especially appropriate. Likewise, when crossing from Midtown to Georgia Tech, this would provide a green entrance to the green campus beyond.”
The final design is not intended to replicate the garden-like environment built into the 5th Street bridge. But the retooled 10th Street Bridge is to provide safer mobility for the growing volume of traffic crossing it by means other than a vehicles.
For example, the eastern side of the Connector is being filled in with student housing that can serve a few thousand students, who are walking or riding bicycles, scooters or skateboards across the bridge on their commute between school and home.
Even before this supply of housing was erected, Midtown Alliance was seeking a bridge design that would accommodate individuals walking between campus and MARTA’s Midtown Station. The number rises dramatically during events at Tech’s McCamish Pavilion. At the time, estimates called for the bridge to accommodate more than 35,000 travelers a day, according to the Midtown Alliance.
The budget is set at a total of $7.2 million. Sources include:
- $2.6 million in federal funds;
- $2.5 million from the Midtown Improvement District;
- $2.1 million from proceeds of Atlanta’s sales tax for transportation.