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Baseball fans come across the under-construction pedestrian walkway on Windy Ridge Parkway over Interstate 75 about 45 minutes before the Atlanta Braves' inaugural game at SunTrust Park on March 31, 2017. Though the walkway was completed last year in the middle of the Braves' first season in Cumberland, Cobb County officials are looking to construct modifications on it to improve pedestrian safety.

The $11-million-plus price tag on the Windy Ridge Parkway bridge that today allows baseball fans to walk to and from SunTrust Park could officially get a little higher Tuesday.

The bridge opened in time for the Braves’ inaugural game at their new home stadium in March 2017, but was not fully completed until later in the team’s season. It is not the $11 million multi-use bridge that spans Interstate 285, connecting the Battery with the Cobb Galleria, though it too had been completed in the middle of the Braves’ season last year.

Erica Parish, Cobb Department of Transportation’s interim director, is asking county commissioners to approve an up to $225,000 supplemental agreement with Brasfield & Gorrie to construct additional modifications to the Windy Ridge Parkway bridge to improve pedestrian safety and guide foot traffic during events at the baseball stadium and its neighboring mixed-use development, The Battery Atlanta.

Approval of the additions would bring the bridge’s construction cost to about $11.9 million, according to county documents. Commissioners are set to vote on the measure at their meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The pedestrian improvements are a result of Cobb County Public Safety Agency concerns and requests due to recent terrorist activities around the world, according to Commissioner Bob Ott, whose district includes the area.

“If you look at the bridge right now, there’s those orange-and-white barricades, plastic ones, as a result of some terrorist events,” Ott said, adding that the portable water-filled barriers went up in the middle of the Atlanta Braves’ season last year in the wake of those tragedies.

The proposed improvements would include extending the bridge’s pedestrian barrier walls, replacing the need for the temporary barriers. Parish said the work would also include the in-stallation of bollards, or posts designed to prevent cars from entering a pedestrian pathway.

If approved Tuesday, work on extending the walls would be tentatively scheduled for completion between June 18 and July 9, according to the county.

Funding for the improvements would come out of the county’s 2016 SPLOST Transportation Improvements Program Fund.

WORK AT COBB PARKWAY AND WINDY HILL ROAD TO BE EXTENDED

Another transportation matter expected to come before commissioners Tuesday affects an area not far from SunTrust Park: the intersection of U.S. 41/Cobb Parkway at Windy Hill Road.

The commission in June 2016 approved a $5.3 million contract with Baldwin Paving Company to install several road improvements at the intersection, with one major component being the addition of dual left turn lanes on the north and south legs of Cobb Parkway.

Originally scheduled to be complete earlier this year, inclement weather adversely affected critical areas of the project for “a sustained period of time,” according to the county. Between Dec. 1, 2017, and April 26 — a span of 147 days — 64 days of precipitation ultimately led to 104 of those days seeing unworkable site conditions for road crews on the job, Parish said.

Commissioners will consider granting Baldwin a no-cost contract modification that would get the company’s crews until Sept. 30 to complete the work, though substantial completion would be anticipated by July 31, according to the county.

Baldwin’s work also includes the addition of dual southbound right turn lanes on the north leg of Cobb Parkway and construction on the north and south legs of “queue jumper” lanes — special designated lanes that allow for a bus to get in and bypass the line of cars at a signal.

“It’s a bus only lane that will be on Cobb Parkway, and it would be between the right turn and the thru-lane, and that lane will have its own signal head, and buses will be able to get a few seconds’ start ahead of the rest of the traffic,” Parish said. “That way, they can try to stay on their schedules instead of getting backlogged in all that traffic trying to get down the corridor.”

The Cobb Board of Commissioners will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Cobb Government Building.

Follow Jon Gargis on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JonGargis

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(1) comment

MrsRamsay

I am not pleased with the cost (not figured into the original plan) but honestly, that is ALL I could think about on my way over that bridge to the Mets game, as I watched parents with their small children walking in large crowds just steps away from moving thru traffic. People are oblivious, despite the terror threat and the loss of life with just one wayward vehicle, planned or accident, would be horrific. I'm FOR this plan....but think Brassfield and Gorrie ought to do better on the price, especially because...shouldn't protective barriers have been thought of originally?

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