Part of 17th Street bridge may reopen by end of year

by: Linda Stouffer Updated:

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ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News learned that part of the 17th Street bridge in midtown Atlanta should reopen by the end of the year. 

The Georgia Department of Transportation shut it down after some of the fencing collapsed onto Interstate 75 almost a year ago.

One significant safety change that will go into effect in the rebuild, affecting the way the decorative fencing is attached to the bridge. GDOT's Mark McKinnon told Channel 2's Linda Stouffer, "We feel like this is going to be a much safer way to hold up this structure. The structures are very heavy. Each one is more than a thousand pounds. "

McKinnon explained two large bolts will go all the way through the concrete barrier wall to attach the fence and canopy posts.

"Having these bolts go all the way through with nuts on the back of them it is just going to make them that much more secure," he said.

August, more than a hundred feet of fencing ripped off the bridge and fell onto the downtown connector. No one was injured and only one vehicle was damaged, but it was a dangerous close call.

Engineers determined the epoxy holding the bolts failed. The fast-drying epoxy was the construction standard at the time the bridge was built in 2004.

This new procedure will be used in future bridges, according to McKinnon.

Reconstruction starts in September and should be finished by New Year's Eve.

Local worker Mickey Harvey is ready to see the temporary fence blocking the sidewalk come down.

New graf-->"I am dismayed that they haven't fixed it yet, because it's been some time," he said.

The sidewalk on the south side of the bridge is blocked off, leaving only the north sidewalk open for pedestrians to travel over the interstate between Spring Street and Atlantic Station.

GDOT told Stouffer the project will cost $1.4 million, and 714 linear feet of fencing and canopy will be rebuilt or reconnected. There are no other design changes. The look of the distinctive bridge will have the same wave appearance and soaring 20-foot canopy arms over the sidewalk.

Drivers can expect some lane closures on the connector during construction.

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