GDOT tells developer to pay $350K over crane that blocked Buckhead traffic

The Georgia Department of Transportation told an Atlanta developer to pay more than $350,000 in connection with the unauthorized, broken-down crane that shut down a busy stretch of Peachtree Road in Buckhead last month.

In a Dec. 20 letter, GDOT general counsel Matthew E. Cline said the “illegal and unauthorized closure” caused “significant damage and road user costs” of $351,464.

The crane caused traffic to come to a halt on the northbound lanes of Peachtree at Pharr Road from Dec. 14-18 and forced northbound traffic onto the southbound lanes. The crane was removed on the night of Dec. 18.

The letter was sent to 2965 Peachtree LLC, which has the same Peachtree Road address as developer Preserve Properties.

MORE: Unauthorized, broken crane removed from busy Buckhead road

GDOT had denied Gilbane Building Co., a contractor working on a high-rise apartment project for Preserve Properties, a permit for road closures at the site.

“We needed more information, we needed a better traffic plan,” GDOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale said.

GDOT was alerted to the problem after several drivers complained of heavy delays while Christmas shopping in the busy commercial district, previously reported. Some business owners told Channel 2 Action News that customers were having trouble getting to their shops.

The increased holiday traffic made the problem even worse, Dale said.

The state agency also suspended the developer’s driveway permit.

“It's a general encroachment permit that builders have to have,” Dale said of a driveway permit. “It covers minor shutdowns due to moving equipment on an off site on a large job due. Certainly not a crane in the middle of Peachtree.”

GDOT cited storage of materials or equipment, failing to work with GDOT on traffic control, and failing to give GDOT notice of an emergency that required closing the road as reasons for suspending the permit “until further notice.”

Officials with Preserve Properties could not be reached for comment.