The balance of the Southside Trail corridor will open as an unpaved interim trail in August 2019 (note that Southside Trail–West described in the preceding paragraph will also open as an interim trail but will close as soon as construction begins on the paved trail). The interim trail includes regrading of the former rail corridor, access to 11 public streets, environmental remediation, bridge handrails, crosswalks in at-grade crossings with appropriate signage and signalization, and lighting in tunnels. The interim trail is funded through contributions to the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership’s Opening the Corridor capital campaign, including a lead gift from The Coca-Cola Foundation.
ABI is also partnering with the City of Atlanta and the Georgia Department of Transportation to construct interim improvements along Bill Kennedy Way between Glenwood Avenue and I-20 to provide better temporary facilities for trail users. These interim improvements include a 10-foot-wide path through the existing I-20 interchange, protected from vehicular traffic by a concrete barrier. Between I-20 and Glenwood Avenue, the continuation of the 10-foot-wide path would be protected from vehicular traffic by a low, planted median. These interim improvements are expected to be open to trail users by mid-2020.
ABI, the City of Atlanta, and the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership continue to seek out the additional funds needed to construct the balance of the paved Southside Trail. The City of Atlanta applied for a $16M federal BUILD Grant in July on behalf of ABI, which, if awarded, will combine with added local funds to construct the easternmost 1.5 miles of the Southside Trail from the northern side of I-20 over Bill Kennedy Way to Boulevard. In addition to the concrete trail with its access points, lights, cameras, and landscaping, the funding would also support the construction of a new pedestrian bridge over I-20 alongside Bill Kennedy Way, providing an even more improved trail experience. If awarded the grant, this section would commence construction in late 2021.
For the 1.75-mile section of the Southside Trail between I-75/85 and Boulevard, the paved trail is expected to be shovel-ready in 2020. As soon as additional funds are identified, ABI will then be in a position to procure a contractor to commence construction of this final segment of the paved Southside Trail.