Cobb County Commissioners on Tuesday got their first look at the bridge over Interstate 285 to SunTrust Park — through an animated video that shows the concrete structure with brick pavings, planters, light poles and a brief stretch of canopy over the center of the 1,100-foot span to give fans a respite from the sun or rain.
The county’s bridge consultants also gave an update on the project, saying it will cost about $10 million in total — an amount that does not include purchasing right-of-way, engineering, or an estimated $3.5 million to reinforce a Galleria parking deck into which the bridge will tie.
The county had previously estimated right-of-way costs at $2 million, although Wilgus said Tuesday that it could be lower.
The Cumberland Community Improvement District, a coalition of self-taxing businesses in the area, voted last week to provide $5 million in funding toward bridge construction. Interim Transportation Director Jim Wilgus told commissioners that the Braves will pay $380,000 and the rest of the construction will be covered by the county’s annual allocation of Federal Transit Administration funds.
Wilgus said contracts could be let for the project this Spring, and that the bridge could be open for the first pitch in SunTrust Park, in April 2017. It connects the stadium with the county’s convention and performing arts center, and is considered critical for pedestrian safety in the area, including for Braves’ fans on game days, during special events, or just patrons trying to get to the team’s mixed-use development.
The bridge has two lanes — a 16-foot pedestrian way on one side and a 12-foot lane for the circulator bus the county is planning to initiate. The two lanes are separated by a four-foot buffer of planters and decorative lighting. There is protective fencing on each side that will be covered by aluminum panels that will reduce noise and eliminate the view of the interstate.
The bridge appears to have been scaled back from initial concepts — there are no misters included in the design, for example.
Commissioners could approve the bridge Jan. 26, although Commissioner Bob Ott expressed concern that it is unclear who will pay the $3.5 million for parking deck reinforcements. Commission Chairman Tim Lee had previously announced that the project would not be ready for the team’s inaugural season in SunTrust Park.
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