Wrong lights delay opening of 17th St bridge to pedestrians

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ATLANTA - Construction on a bridge in Atlanta is way behind schedule and neighbors in the area are fed up.

Channel 2's Rachel Stockman talked to people who live near the 17th Street Bridge where a fence has been up for months with very little construction going on the other side.

Neighbors told Stockman it's a major inconvenience to cross the very busy road, especially during rush hour.

"I cannot figure out why it's it not completed," neighbor Kevin Keneri told Stockman.

Keneri said he moved to the Atlantic Station area so he could walk everywhere.

"It's been this way since December or January. Complete (it or) be done with it," Keneri said.

The Georgia Department of Transportation originally told Channel 2 Action News that the pedestrian walkway on the 17th Street Bridge would open by the end of 2012.

GDOT shut it down for construction after some of the fencing collapsed onto Interstate 75 in 2011.

"I have no idea why it didn't open. Other than Atlanta is a city that doesn't get things done as opposed to Chicago that is a city that works," Keneri told Stockman.

Why the hold up? Stockman found out the project was stalled because the lights that came in did not match the plan and had to be re-ordered.

Channel 2 Action News crews saw workers installing the lights that finally came in Monday morning, but the fence is still up.

"You have to cross the street, the traffic doesn't stop," Keneri told Stockman.

Stockman said she heard several people complain about the bridge access, so she tried it for herself.

After waiting at least seven minutes, she still had not made it across the bridge.

"(It's) a really long time, more than usual and even if it didn't take a long time, I think the fence is more of a hazard then the lights being out," neighbor Stephen Marino said.

"It is not a wise use of taxpayer money to take down the fencing when we haven't finished the project and then pay to put it back to install the lightening when it comes in," GDOT said in a statement to Channel 2 Action News.

A GDOT spokesperson said the pedestrian bridge will be opened very soon.



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