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Courtland Street bridge to close for construction; GDOT convenes open house Thursday

Courtland Street bridge diagram Octobe 2016

The Courtland Street bridge, in Downtown Atlanta, is to be demolished and replaced starting in 2017. GDOT has convened an open house on Thursday. Credit: gdot.gov, David Pendered

By David Pendered

A segment of Courtland Street between Georgia State University and the state Capitol is to be closed for replacement in 2017 and the public has a chance to offer comments about the project at an open house on Thursday.

Courtland Street bridge diagram Octobe 2016

The Courtland Street bridge, in Downtown Atlanta, is to be demolished and replaced starting in 2017. GDOT has convened an open house on Thursday. Credit: gdot.gov, David Pendered

The Georgia Department of Transportation intends to replace the decayed Courtland Street bridge. The project boundaries extend 1,600 feet, from Gilmer Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The local landmarks at the boundaries of the project are Hurt Park and the state Capitol.

The construction project seems likely to impact sidewalks that lots of GSU students, staff and faculty use to get around campus.

GDOT’s fact sheets don’t go into details, but do note that work will be done along the street from gutter to gutter, and, “temporary construction easements up to 40 feet in width would be required along both sides of Courtland Street.”

GDOT has determined two detour options. They are:

  • “One option, for cars and buses, would follow Edgewood Avenue, Pryor Street, and Mitchell Street for a length of approximately 0.8 mile.
  • “A second option, for cars only, would follow Gilmer Street, Jesse Hill Jr. Drive, and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive for a length of approximately 0.7 mile.”

The fact sheets don’t’t provide estimated dates of the construction period, other than to say it begins in 2017. Construction costs were not readily available Sunday. The project was named for funding in the $250 million bond referendum Atlanta voters approved on March 17, 2015.

Courtland Street Detour Map

GDOT proposes two detours to bypass a segment of Courtland Street when it is closed to replace the bridge. Credit: gdot.gov

The Courtland Street bridge has been falling apart for years. Its condition today is such that Atlanta has strung nets beneath the bridge to catch chunks that fall off and plummet toward the ground.

This is how GDOT describes the condition of the bridge:

  • “The existing Courtland Street bridge structure has shown signs of major deterioration over the last few years and is now in need of a full replacement. The bridge has been temporarily shored in the area north of the CSX rail lines. However, the bottom of the concrete deck is spalling in numerous locations resulting in chunks of concrete falling off and endangering the public below. The City of Atlanta has installed netting underneath the bridge to catch falling debris until the bridge can be replaced.”

The renovation project involves demolishing the existing bridge and replacing all 28 spans. The Courtland Street bridge passes over the MARTA rail lines, CSX rail lines, and Decatur Street.

GDOT has designed the bridge to accommodate a passenger rail project that could be built in the area at some unnamed time in the future.

The portion of the Courtland Street bridge that passes over the CSX rail lines would be reconfigured to provide for both the horizontal and vertical clearance necessary to accommodate passenger trains, according to a GDOT fact sheet.

Courtland Street is a major north-south route that connects Piedmont Park and the Turner Field area. It’s a one-way southbound companion to Piedmont Avenue, which is a one-way northbound street.

Courtland Street changes names from Juniper Street, near Piedmont Park; to Courtland Street, as it enters Downtown Atlanta; and Pulliam Street, as it approaches I-20 near the Atlanta City Hall and continues southbound on the west side of the Downtown Connector, I-75 and I-85.

Piedmont Avenue is named Capitol Avenue south of the Georgia Capitol.

Information: GDOT has scheduled an informal open house to provide commuters a chance to comment on GDOT’s proposal to rebuilt the Courtland Street bridge. The open house is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 20 in the James H. (Sloppy) Floyd Building Lobby, 1 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, in Downtown Atlanta. Written statements concerning the project are due by Oct. 30 and should be mailed to Eric Duff, State Environmental Administrator, GDOT, 600 West Peachtree Street, NW – 16th Floor Atlanta, Ga. 30308.




David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.


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  1. Streets with many names October 17, 2016 4:40 pm

    You forgot to mention that Courtland becomes Washington near the Capitol.Report

  2. Carl Holt October 17, 2016 5:09 pm

    The CyclAtlanta Phase 1.0 has this viaduct targeted for protected cycle track. The viaduct replacement project is the perfect opportunity to accomplish this Complete Streets transformation.Report

  3. Robby Comer October 17, 2016 7:49 pm

    There goes beating connector gridlock U0001f627Report

  4. Carl Holt October 17, 2016 9:39 pm

    Yeah speeding thru a college campus is a great alternative. /sReport

  5. Will Steele October 17, 2016 9:54 pm

    Glad I no longer work in Downtown.Report

  6. Robby Comer October 17, 2016 11:30 pm

    Who said I was speeding through it ?Report

  7. letmesaythis October 18, 2016 12:17 pm

    Crumbling and falling apart for years – yet still open to traffic. 
    I drive, park and walk under Courtland – I am glad to see this viaduct project moving forward – wonder what took it so long to get off the ground?

    Also, have ya driven down Moores Mill and Peachtree Battle lately?
    Wow what a very expensive residential community with the most F’d up, pot hole filled streets….like barely paved.Report


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