Braves bridge may go way over budget, leave fans stranded on wrong side of highway for five months

Hey, how’s everybody’s favorite pedestrian-and-bus bridge that no one knows how much it will cost but that without which Atlanta Braves fans won’t be able to get to games? The good news is that the Cobb County Commission approved a preliminary design last night, one that involves side-by-side lanes for pedestrians and shuttle buses. The bad news is, as Dan Klepal of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, everything else:

The 1,100-foot bridge, which is meant to help fans walking or riding a circulator bus to the games from remote parking areas, likely won’t be completed until September 2017 — five months later than county officials originally planned, according to a document obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution through Georgia’s Open Records Act.

Okay, that’s not good, considering that the stadium is supposed to open in April 2017 — five months is a long time to be late for the game.

And any news on how much this bridge is going to cost, and who’ll pay for it and how?

The county has not updated its $9 million cost estimate, despite its contractor working on the project since April. The AJC has previously reported that the county’s estimate is for construction costs only and does not include things such as moving utilities, buying land for right-of-way, or the $804,000 being paid to the contractor.

So that would be a lot more than $9 million, in all likelihood—

Outside bridge experts have previously expressed skepticism to the newspaper that the county can even construct the bridge for $9 million.

Okay, a whole lot more than $9 mil—

And now there’s a new expense: the top level of the parking garage, to which the bridge will connect, will have to be reinforced to support the circulator bus, according to documents reviewed by the newspaper.

The deck needs to be strengthened to support the buses that will drive across it to access the bridge, the document says. It does not specify what materials will be used or how much it will cost, but it is clearly an unexpected development.

Okay, clearly nobody has any idea how much this bridge will cost, or when it will be open, but they’ve gotta build it or half the fans attending every game will end up standing on the wrong side of a highway, because they went ahead and approved the stadium before finalizing the transportation plan. I’m going out on a limb here and saying maybe that wasn’t the greatest idea, guys?

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10 comments on “Braves bridge may go way over budget, leave fans stranded on wrong side of highway for five months

  1. Hi Neil,
    How many buses with there be and who is paying for the capital and operating costs of them?

  2. Operating cost is $1.7 million a year, per the AJC. Will try to find out about capital costs, capacity, etc.

  3. I don’t think anybody will be paying for the new bridge to the new ballpark. At the very least it looks like the Braves will be spending 2017 at Turner Field.

  4. Delaying the bridge wouldn’t be a killer, but it would suck. I haven’t been to the area in a while, but if I recall correctly people will be able to walk along Cobb Parkway (not a pedestrian-friendly street, but walkable) to get under the freeway until the bridge is built. It would back up traffic entering/exiting the freeway from Cobb parkway, but people would still be able to get to games. My point is that there is no chance that this bridge opening late will cause the Braves to stay in Atlanta another year.

  5. Looks from Google Earth like the only sidewalk and crosswalks are on the wrong side of the Cobb Parkway (US 3/41), which would mean a lot of crossing large highways and on-ramps to get to the game. I agree that it’s unlikely this delays the move, but man, is it going to be a mess.

  6. Yeah, that area is walkable in a way that the road in the game Frogger was walkable. It’s pretty similar to the underpass from the portion of Ralph David Abernathy Rd west of I-75/85 but the underpass is closed to everyone except pedestrians and buses on game days. I can’t see how closing an intersection on a major commuter route would be an option at the new Braves stadium.

  7. To clarify, the underpass from the portion of Ralph David Abernathy west of the expressway leading to Turner Field.

  8. “Yeah, that area is walkable in a way that the road in the game Frogger was walkable.”

    Pleeeeeeeeease somebody make a GIF of this.

  9. FYI, just got confirmation that Cobb County will cover both capital and operating/maintenance costs of the buses. No price tag on the capital cost yet, because why figure that out in advance when you can just fly blind?

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