A little more than two decades ago, the building of Ga. 400 split the east and west sides of Buckhead like a log under an ax.
Since then, some pedestrians have had to walk 10 to 15 minutes out of their way to Peachtree or Lenox roads before they could get across the highway.
But a new bridge in the final stages of construction will soon provide walkers one more way to ford the river of traffic on Ga. 400. Even better, it will give them direct access to the Buckhead MARTA station sandwiched between the northbound and southbound lanes, said Jim Durrett, executive director of Buckhead Community Improvement District.
“There’s been a lot of residential and commercial demand for this,” said Durrett, whose organization chipped in $1.2 million toward the $24 million project.
The bridge was actually part of the original design for Ga. 400, but it was removed from the plan after engineers concluded it was too expensive, Durrett said.
A melange of high-rise condos, upscale apartments, office buildings, retailers and restaurants currently line both sides of the highway. The bridge makes those adjacent properties immediately accessible to transit service, Durrett said, and therefore more appealing to young professionals.
Developers of one apartment building soon to be built on the east side of Ga. 400, called SkyHouse Buckhead, said they chose the location specifically to appeal to that kind of “next-generation resident.”
“One of the things we like about this site is the immediate connection to the Buckhead MARTA station, allowing our residents to travel by train to work, sports and the airport,” said Jim Borders, the president of Novare Group, which is developing the project along with Batson-Cook Development Co.
Workers engaged in the highly complex bridge project had to build a structure braced with huge concrete beams over an active MARTA rail line and vehicle traffic on Ga. 400, said Patrick Minnucci, director of program and contract management for MARTA.
The design — a glass enclosure with a curved roof — is supposed to mirror the architecture of high-rises in the area.
By January, the structural portions of the bridge will be complete. The lighting and electronic guts of the bridge are next to go in place, and the bridge should open by spring.
Buckhead resident Eileen Greydan and her small dog Travis stopped one chilly mid-November morning to get an update on workers’ progress.
Greydan said she lives in the Buckhead Grand condos on the west side of Ga. 400 because of the complex’s easy access to MARTA, which she and her husband use to get to the airport whenever they travel — which is often.
“I am so excited about this idea,” Greydan said. “When we moved in it was like they were building it just for us.”