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Dramatic changes coming to Midtown, Downtown bridges | News

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Dramatic changes coming to Midtown, Downtown bridges

ATLANTA -- In about a year, people who drive along the Downtown connector through Atlanta will see a new look to some of the bridges spanning overhead. The bridges are getting a makeover, and many drivers say it's about time. 

Next month, construction work will being on the Peachtree Street bridge where it crosses Interstate-85 at Brookwood. Structural repairs will strengthen the bridge, but developers say dramatic changes will transform the drab, concrete span into an Atlanta gateway, one with soaring arches that will reach three-and-a-half stories about Peachtree. And all the drivers passing under the bridge -- in more than 300,000 vehicles a day, during the week -- will see the arches and Atlanta's signature street's name in lights.

Brian Carr, a representative of Midtown Alliance, one of the driving forces behind Midtown's revitalization, says the bridge is symbolic of Atlanta's future. 

"(It's) A way to really identify Atlanta as a true destination," Carr said. “So for all the tourists that come through on 85 – 75, on their way through to other parts of the country, we want people to know that they’ve come through a very signature place, the City of Atlanta.”

Carr says the Peachtree bridge is one of four bridges spanning the downtown connector that are targeted for major improvements. 

Work started earlier this month rehabbing and remodeling the other Peachtree Street bridge that crosses the connector between downtown and midtown. Improvements to the two Peachtree bridges, which include sidewalks separated from traffic by a short wall, should be complete by December 2016. Forecasts place the cost at about $6 million dollars, with funds coming from private sources, the Woodruff Foundation and from the state.

Midtown Alliance and Central Atlanta Progress also conducted a design competition for two other bridges. There are plans to remodel the 10th Street bridge. Developers say engineering studies are now underway, but completion still could be years away. The winning design for the Courtland Street bridge includes a canopy creating a pedestrian friendly environment; feasibility studies are underway on this design, as well.