MARTA forwards transit projects set for Atlanta, Clayton and DeKalb

MARTA plans to extend the rail platform at Bankhead station to accommodate longer trains.. (File photo by Arvin Temkar /



MARTA plans to extend the rail platform at Bankhead station to accommodate longer trains.. (File photo by Arvin Temkar /

A MARTA board committee Thursday advanced transit expansion projects in the city of Atlanta and Clayton and DeKalb counties. Here’s what you need to know.

Bankhead station: The board’s planning committee approved plans to award a $6 million contract to Axis Infrastructure to design a platform extension at the Atlanta rail station.

Currently, the station at the western end of MARTA’s green line can accommodate trains with only two cars. The project would expand the platform so it can accommodate eight cars, matching the capacity of MARTA’s 37 other rail stations.

The $72 million platform extension is part of MARTA’s larger plan to redevelop Bankhead station. That plan includes a new commercial and residential development around the station, which is near a proposed Microsoft campus. Microsoft’s plans are on hold for now, but MARTA is proceeding with the platform extension and the transit-oriented development.

Construction on the platform extension is expected to begin in 2025 and be completed in 2027.

Clayton Southlake BRT: The committee agreed to award a $275,000 professional contract to Heath & Lineback Engineers to study development concepts for the bus rapid transit line. The firm will study whether it makes sense to connect the line to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

The 15.5-mile rapid bus line would run from Southlake Mall to MARTA’s College Park station. Buses would run at least every 15 minutes and would operate mostly in exclusive bus lanes. The route would have limited stops, shaving 19 minutes off the travel time between Southlake and College Park.

Construction of the $338.1 million project is expected to begin next year, with the line opening in 2026.

Candler Road ART: The committee also selected the route for a proposed “arterial rapid transit” line in DeKalb County. The route would begin at Georgia State University Perimeter College’s Decatur campus and follow Candler Road, Memorial Drive and Columbia Drive to Avondale station.

MARTA had considered a route that ended at Decatur station, but it found the Avondale route would generate more ridership and revenue, be faster and more reliable and serve more vulnerable populations.

The $47.7 million line would not operate in exclusive lanes. But it would feature limited stops, and buses would be equipped with technology to give them priority at traffic signals. And stations would provide real-time information about bus arrivals.

Construction is expected to be completed in late 2024.

The full MARTA board of directors is expected to take final action on all three projects next month.