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Published on March 3rd, 2016 |

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160-plus view traffic options during Northside Dr. bridge replacement

More than 160 south Buckhead residents turned out March 1 for a Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) public information open house, where the agency presented its concepts for the Northside Drive bridge replacement project over Peachtree Creek at Atlanta Memorial Park.

Dist. 8 Atlanta City Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean discusses the three options with one of her constituents at the GDOT open house.

Dist. 8 Atlanta City Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean discusses the three options with one of her constituents at the GDOT open house.

According to a report by the Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy, the forum at the Northside United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall drew a crowd of 160 plus. Among those attending were City Council members Yolanda Adrean and Mary Norwood.

The bridge over Peachtree Creek, built in 1926, failed the GDOT studies to determine adequacy and integrity of bridges, and is a candidate for replacement. How that replacement will be accomplished is to be determined and was the focus of the open house.

There was no formal presentation by GDOT, but those attending had the opportunity to review displays set up around the room and speak with the agency’s project staff. The displays showed three options GDOT is considering.

One option was to close down Northside Drive on either side of Woodward Way and detour traffic through neighborhood streets to Howell Mill Road while the old bridge is removed and a new one built, which would take about 6-9 months.

In addition, Woodward Way and Sagamore Drive would also be closed at Northside Drive for 6-9 months. The total construction time for that option

This graphic shows option one, which would totally close Northside Drive during the bridge work.

This graphic shows option one, which would totally close Northside Drive during the bridge work.

would be 40-42 months and the cost would be $6.5 million to $7 million.

The other two options presented—both of which involved building a temporary roadway and bridge for use by Northside Drive traffic during reconstruction of the existing bridge—would not totally shut down Northside Drive, but would close Woodward Way and Sagamore Drive for 36-38 months.

One of those options involves building the temporary roadway and bridge of the west side of Northside Drive. A GDOT representative told BuckheadView that alternative has been deemed not feasible due to impacts on a FEMA-restricted lot north of the bridge and a large number of historic hardwood trees that would have to be removed in Memorial Park west of Northside Drive, as well as historic stone hardscapes. The total cost of that option was $8 million to $8.5 million.

The third alternative–building a temporary roadway and bridge on the east side of Northside Drive–is considered by GDOT to be feasible. It would impact stormwater box culverts, a stream through Haynes Manor Park, the Bobby Jones Golf Course and historic trees in Memorial Park. The cost of that option (exclusive of mitigation costs to temporarily impact the golf course) is estimated at $9.5 million to $10 million.

This graphic shows the west side temporary road and bridge option considered not feasible.

This graphic shows the west side temporary road and bridge option, considered not feasible.

The intersection of Woodward Way/Northside Drive would also be improved as part of this project. Attendees were asked to comment as to their interest in further enhancements, such as a pedestrian underpass for Northside Drive (similar to the underpass along the Tanyard Creek Beltline that allows passage under Collier Road).

Georgia DOT needs to hear that enhanced connectivity is important to the community, wrote Catherine Spillman, executive director of the Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy.
Garth Peters, a former president of the Memorial Park neighborhood association and actively involved in the Civic Association’s parks committee, is very much opposed to the west side option, but also discussed with GDOT staff another problem that needs to be addressed on the east side of Northside Drive near where Woodward Way and Sagamore Drive intersect.

Peters pointed out that a sink hole developed there a few years ago and crews filled the hole and repaved the roadway near where it intersects with Northside Drive. Peters said, however, that the

This graphic shows the east side temporary road and bridge option that is considered to be feasible by GDOT.

This graphic shows the east side temporary road and bridge option that is considered to be feasible by GDOT.

roadway there is again showing signs of sagging and may collapse again.

Peters told the GDOT staff that whatever they do with the new bridge on Northside Drive, there could well be recurring problems with the roadway sinking in that area if the work GDOT is planning does not address reconstructing the entire intersection there on the north side of the bridge.

All participants at the open house were invited to submit written comments at the event or to submit them by email or regular mail. The deadline for filing comments is March 11.

For more information, contact Carleton Fisher at cfisher@dot.ga.gov, 404-631-1981 or Richard O’Hara at RO’Hara@dot.ga.gov, 404-631-1169.

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    One Response to 160-plus view traffic options during Northside Dr. bridge replacement

    1. Good Morning,

      You’ve written several articles about the DOT. Please reach out to me for any comment about DOT projects in Buckhead or Metro Atlanta. My phone number is 470.891.2992. You can also email me at abaker@dot.ga.gov

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