Construction of the multi-use bridge to span Interstate 285 and connect SunTrust Park and the adjacent mixed-use development to the Cobb Galleria area is underway.
Despite Opening Day for the ballpark looming just nine months away, officials with the county and the Atlanta Braves are optimistic the bridge will be open in time for first pitch.
Construction started about three to four weeks ago, according to Jim Wilgus, director of the Cobb Department of Transportation. Construction crews with Northwest Express Roadbuilders, which was awarded the $10 million contract to build the bridge, began with site preparation on the north side of I-285 to make way for a crane, Wilgus said.
With the crane in place, work began on building the “bents,” also known as support columns, the bridge will require, Wilgus said.
The bridge as currently designed will span about 1,110 feet and begin at a parking deck adjacent to the Cobb Galleria Centre with two lanes: one for pedestrians and bikes and the other for a shuttle vehicle.
After crossing I-285, the shuttle lane of the 32-foot-wide bridge will end at Circle 75 Parkway, while the pedestrian lane will cross Circle 75 and end at a parking deck in the Braves’ mixed-use development, known as The Battery Atlanta.
To fund construction, the county plans to use $5 million given by the Cumberland Community Improvement District, about $4.5 million in federal grants, $380,000 from the Atlanta Braves and about $159,000 from a special taxing district in Cumberland created to help fund the new Braves stadium’s construction, according to county documents.
According to a preliminary Major League Baseball schedule for 2017 obtained by the Associated Press, the Braves will make their debut at SunTrust Park on April 13 against the San Diego Padres after playing the season’s first eight games on the road.
Wilgus said the county expects the bridge to be open in time for SunTrust Park’s opening.
“That’s the plan,” he said.
Mike Plant, president of development for the Braves, agreed.
“We’re right where we need to be,” he said.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.