Downtown and Midtown Business Groups Seek $8.5M Makeover of Bridges

October 29,2012

The Interstate 75/85 Connector is an efficient mover of cars and trucks through downtown and Midtown Atlanta, subject to the whims of rush hour traffic.

But the multi-lane swath through the core of the city has never scored high marks for aesthetics.

Now, two business groups are trying to fix that shortcoming by raising $8.5 million to spruce up five bridges spanning the Connector between the Brookwood Interchange and Turner Field.

“The Connector is a port of entry for Georgia’s largest city ... but it’s not particularly uplifting,” said Kevin Green, president of the Midtown Alliance. “We’re looking to give our front door a major face-lift.”

Green and A.J. Robinson, president of Central Atlanta Progress, an organization of downtown businesses, shared their plans Oct. 17 with the State Transportation Board.

The two hope to combine contributions from member businesses with state grants to pay for improvements to two bridges that cross above the Connector on different stretches of Peachtree Street and three other bridges that span the highway at 10th Street, North Avenue and Courtland Street.

The Midtown Alliance and Central Atlanta Progress already have received $200,000 each from the State Road and Tollway Authority for the bridges project.

They’re working to secure additional state funds from a revenue stream the Georgia Department of Transportation is using to finance its Gateways initiative.

The Gateways program is aimed at building eye-catching structures at nine interstate highway entrances to Georgia, including the multi-columned Fort Benning Gateway that opened last year at Interstate 185 and Victory Drive in Columbus near the Georgia-Alabama line. The DOT awarded a design contract last spring to AMEC, a London-based engineering services consulting firm, for an amount not to exceed $1.2 million, agency spokeswoman Jill Goldberg said.