The Braves Stadium Bridge is Being Revamped Yet Again
The latest plan in Cobb County's continuing story of the Braves Bridge is the proposal of a newly redesigned double-decker bridge that will tower over I-285 to allow fans to come and go from the new Atlanta Braves Stadium via a circulator bus on the top span and a pedestrian walkway on the bottom. The county has no idea how much this new addition to the ever expanding project will cost, or how it will be funded, but it's clear that there's a time crunch to that resolved. The goal is to have it completed by March 2017, in time for the Braves' first pitch of the season in the new stadium.
The idea of the bridge linking the Galleria area with the thousands of parking spaces on the far side of I-285 was rolled out initially right after the Braves announced their intention to move their stadium to Cobb County. And it was announced that the bridge was already included in the total Stadium Package. Of course this was a mistake that was discovered weeks later when a preliminary agreement was made between the two factions for the best possible effort to be used to secure funding. And it will. But what about traffic and parking? No amount of funding will cut into the amount of added traffic business owners and residents already face.
There are many other aspects of the new bridge project, besides cost, which combine into the overall project's package. And traffic is a vital part of the puzzle. Traffic is expected to explode all around the shopping and residential areas. Parking and traffic flow have been a major concern of the many businesses in the Cumberland/I-75/Galleria area. The addition of the stadium itself already has store owners worried that many of their customers will be frustrated with the onset of heavy traffic to and from the games, and with the new retail stores that will surely accompany it, and, that many customers might be frustrated enough to just go to other associate stores at other locations. Now these same owners have the added worry that they will end up paying for the construction of yet another project, this new structure. County officials have said that the original $9 million estimate will only alter slightly, and that no local tax money will be used, but no one is believing that.
The construction of this new structure will surely add to the aesthetics of the area, with the addition of new benches, fencing, lightening, new ATMs and even added security. But along with aesthetics, which is wonderful, comes added traffic to the Cobb County Interstate 285/75/Cobb Parkway and its surrounding roads. Traffic will increase, and the spillover is expected to be great. Store owners are much more interested in the bottom line.
Will the advent of all of this new construction add to their income increasing or add to the burgeoning traffic that already bottle necks slightly on the I-75N onramp? And the answer is yes. Traffic will definitely increase, parking will definitely become a premium to obtain, and shoppers will definitely become increasing frustrated. Let's believe that the many newcomers to the Cobb County Exchange as a result of coming to the games, will have a more positive than negative effect on our traffic. Let's hope for the best...