Inside City Hall: Cheshire Bridge repairs won’t be done until end of May

A weekly roundup of the most important things you need to know about Atlanta City Hall.
Atlanta police blocked lanes of Cheshire Bridge Road near Faulkner Road after a fire broke out under the railway overpass.

Credit: Ben Hendren for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Ben Hendren for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta police blocked lanes of Cheshire Bridge Road near Faulkner Road after a fire broke out under the railway overpass.

The city of Atlanta is still working to finish repairs on Cheshire Bridge after a December fire shuttered the roadway, causing a headache for residents who rely on the overpass to commute.

Atlantans waiting patiently for construction to wrap up received unfortunate news last week when the Atlanta Department of Transportation projected the completion date to be the end of May.

Atlanta City Council member Alex Wan, who represents that area of the city, wrote in his regular newsletter that the transportation department says May 14 is the target date to reopen the roadway, with May 27 the anticipated final day of construction.

“This is not the news I had hoped to be able to give to you today, but as I have, I’ll continue keeping you informed as frequently as I can throughout this entire project,” Wan said.

“The administration knows my/our frustration with the pace (or lack thereof) with the repair,” he said.

Early project timelines from the department aimed at reopening the bridge in 10 weeks — which would have meant the roadway would have been ready for use by early spring.

A project update document from the Atlanta Department of Transportation says that progress has been delayed by “property access negotiations, site preparation, required document approvals and inclement weather.”

Credit: Riley Bunch

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Credit: Riley Bunch

“We understand the urgency in restoring this road for the community and stakeholders,” the update says. “Our goal is to complete construction quickly, with safety as the highest priority.”

Luckily, the damage didn’t require the entire bridge to be rebuilt, but repairs included demolishing and replacing the damaged portion of the structure, shoring up existing utility and supports, as well as constructing a retaining wall and new roadway to connect the remaining portion of the bridge to the road.

“Please know I am keeping the pressure on COO and project managers practically daily,” Wan said.

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Gov. Brian Kemp is continuing to echo his support for Atlanta’s $109 million public safety training center that became a talking point among Republicans to promote public safety initiatives under the Gold Dome this legislative session.

The state’s top official responded to a video posted by the Atlanta Police Department of police and fire teams removing two people who had attached themselves to construction equipment in protest of the facility.

“Lock ‘em up!” the governor said of the individuals on social media.

Dickens continues to promote a strong working relationship with state leadership — an alliance that hasn’t always existed in the past. He thanked the governor and legislators during his State of the City address last week and even visited the Georgia House and Senate chambers last month.

He took the opportunity to tout Atlanta’s dipping crime numbers.

“The city of Atlanta enjoys an excellent working relationship with many of our state partners, especially when it comes to one of the most important issues for us and that is public safety,” Dickens said in the House chamber early last month.

“We have had an outstanding set of support from the GBI, the Georgia State Patrol and other state agencies as we work together to reduce crime in and around Atlanta,” he said.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens stands for a photo with Georgia House Speaker Jon Burns during a visit to the statehouse on March 7.

Credit: Courtesy of the Georgia House of Representatives

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Credit: Courtesy of the Georgia House of Representatives

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Atlanta City Council is on recess for the next two weeks until members return to City Hall for a full council meeting on April 15. Our Inside City Hall column is also taking a hiatus until that Monday, but then we will return to our regular schedule.

We’d like you to weigh in on what you’d like to read more of in our weekly City Hall column, whether that be more interviews with your council members, check-ins on big ticket projects or recaps of legislation being considered by city leaders.

Have thoughts? Email me at riley.bunch@ajc.com.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's City Hall reporter, Riley Bunch, poses for a photograph outside of Atlanta City Hall on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023.
Miguel Martinez /miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

Credit: Miguel Martinez

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Credit: Miguel Martinez