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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Spring Street viaduct to close in September, prepare for chaos

The Spring Street viaduct that spans the Gulch, that vast railyard and parking lot near Philips Arena, is in terrible shape. It's in such bad shape that buses and trucks are not allowed on it, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation. Does this happen in a world-class city, hmmmm?

Starting in early September, crews will begin demolishing the circa 1922 viaduct's northern half between Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Marietta Street. They'll then rebuild the span. The approximately $21 million project, GDOT Spokesman David Spear says, is being built in sequence with the recently replaced Mitchell Street Bridge because the area has high traffic. Construction should be complete in November 2016.

The project, coupled with the ongoing construction of the new Atlanta Falcons stadium, might create a traffic headache. As one would expect when a viaduct gets demolished, pedestrian and auto traffic will be rerouted. Centennial Olympic Park Drive will also be made into a two-way street until Walton Street. What you see above is the proposed street closures. Print it out, tape it to your iPad, and be prepared when construction starts.

“This will be a change for Downtown," Angie Laurie, Central Atlanta Progress' vice president of transportation, said at this morning's CAP town hall. "We are excited it’s happening because the bridge is in need of repair.”

The fun will start all over again next year when crews begin work on the southern section of the viaduct. More information about the project, including a description of the difference between a viaduct and a bridge, can be found here.

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