I-285 Bridge Will Cost $9.87Million

The proposed multi-use bridge designed to span I-285 to connect the Cobb Galleria with the new Atlanta Braves Stadium finally has a firm cost estimate of $9.87 million.

Representatives from AECOM Technical Services, the firm the county paid $804,000 to design the bridge, presented an update on the project at a meeting of the Cobb Board of Commissioners last week. The update included a final recommended design and cost.

The county plans to use $5 million, that the CID, the Cumberland  Improvement District,  agreed to provide, for the project last week along with $4.5 Million from a Federal Transit Authority grant and $380,000 from the Atlanta Braves to fund the bridge's construction.  The CID's recent decision to help fund the bridge project, as well as the new information from AECOM has Lee hopeful the bridge will be open when the Braves' new stadium opens in Spring 2017.  "It's feasible," Lee stated. "No one will absolutely guarantee it because it may rain for three days ... We have Opening Day in April of 2017. That's going to be the target ... The hopes are that we will have it done for the first pitch, and we are working toward that goal."

The $9.87 million price tag does not include the cost of purchasing right of way, the small tracts of land the bridge will be built on, because those costs have not yet been determined, according to Lee.

"They'll be making those decisions in a week, as they are going back and forth, to figure exactly how much they'll need, and then they'll make the final determination. They have a fairly good idea already. They'll need some on the Galleria side, obviously and some on the north side. And the Braves have already agreed t donate their right of way to us," said Lee.

The bridge design has the structure divided into two sections: a 16-foot wide pedestrian path and a 12-foot wide lane for transit shuttles with a four-foot buffer between them.  The $9.87M estimate does not include the cost to retrofit the Galleria deck to allow for a transit vehicle to use it, which is currently estimated to be $3.5 million. The county will start seeking bids now from construction firms.

There is a catch, though. The bridge needs approval to use a parking deck owned by the Cobb Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority. The current design for the bridge uses a parking deck adjacent to the Galleria as one of the landing points. The organization plans to build a hotel next to the Galleria Centre and officials are looking into whether the hotel might require changes to the parking deck at a proposed bridge landing point.

The exhibit Hall Authority board is expected to discuss this matter when it meets on February 2.