Cobb County’s Atlanta Braves stadium hellbridge continues to go very, very badly. The latest development: The county has scrapped a planned pedestrian plaza in order to keep the bridge from busting its $10 million budget.
After making the long trek across the bridge to SunTrust Park, pedestrians were going to be treated to a park-like plaza with manicured landscaping, a fountain of water cascading down steps, benches and an elevator to get back up to the bridge…
Jim Wilgus, Cobb’s interim transportation director, told the AJC last month that the plaza was “value engineered” out of the project. What will take its place?
“There is a set of stairs,” Wilgus replied through email.
Which, you know, fine: Manicured landscaping is all well and good, but the point of a pedestrian/bus bridge is to get people to and from their cars before and after games, so how pretty the view is on the way is kind of an unnecessary frill. Except that more cuts could still be coming, because nobody actually knows how much the bridge itself will cost:
Commissioner Bob Ott, who represents the stadium area, said he doesn’t think anyone at the county knows what the final price will be. … “All I know is that as a commissioner, I have not seen a budget for the project,” Ott said. “I would hope that next week the commissioners will be shown it.”
On the bright (?) side, the county is considering using eminent domain condemnation to seize property it needs for the bridge approaches, which the private owners have been refusing to sell. It would still need to pay what a court decides is fair value for the land, though. And there’s still no stated solution at all to how it’s going to get all their fans across a bridge with only one lane for shuttle buses and one narrow pedestrian path for those on foot — not to mention how it will prevent pedestrians from spilling over into the bus lane and blocking traffic once their side of the bridge becomes impassably clogged.
This still has all the makings of a complete disaster, in other words. Good thing the Braves are projected to be unwatchably bad for the near future, so at least the bridgepocalypse can maybe get delayed for a couple of seasons.