Years of blood sweat and tears have come to fruition for the South Fork Conservancy with the installation of its new 175-foot Confluence Trail pedestrian bridge Aug. 21.
The conservancy is a nonprofit that aims to protect habitat and connect nature trails along the banks of the south fork of Peachtree Creek in Atlanta. This $2.5 million project provides a key pedestrian connection to trails along the south and north forks of the creek. More importantly, it will provide access to acres of new greenspace in an urban community ranked as a “high need” area for park access by the Trust for Public Land.
The bridge lies northwest of Interstate 85 between Piedmont Road and Lindbergh Drive. In addition to connecting nearby neighborhoods to trails and parkland, it will also provide linkages to three regional trails – The Atlanta BeltLine, the Path400 Greenway Trail and eventually the Peachtree Creek Greenway.
“This is an impressive project which will connect 25 acres of new greenspace to one of the most park-deprived areas of the city. Having easy access to natural areas is critical now more than ever, and this bridge, made possible by South Fork Conservancy, will deliver nature trails and creek views to thousands of people,” District 6 Atlanta City Councilwoman Jennifer Ide, who represents the area, said in a news release.
The bridge, with an equally long Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible ramp, makes the total structure nearly as long as a football field. Its highest point is just short of 12 feet tall. Constructed out of Corten steel and concrete decking, it required one of the largest cranes in North America to lift it into place. Most importantly, the bridge is designed not to disturb the health of the creek.
“This is one of the most ambitious projects our organization has ever supported,” Park Pride Executive Director Michael Halicki said in the release. “South Fork Conservancy is blazing new trails and taking a bold step with this pedestrian bridge to connect Atlantans to more greenspaces and natural waterways.”
To date, the conservancy has finished five miles of trails, including catalyzing the development of three parks, along the creek’s south fork. It was recently awarded one of the inaugural Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act grants to further its goal of increasing creek access as a source of recreation, inspiration, education and community connectivity for all Atlantans.
For more information, visit www.southforkconservancy.org.