After years of anticipation, Atlanta BeltLine Inc. officials say construction on a crucial trail link between eastside and southside neighborhoods is set to begin in a matter of weeks.
The unpaved Southside Trail section between Glenwood Avenue and Boulevard—Segments 4 and 5—is scheduled to officially close and be under construction sometime in March, BeltLine spokesperson Jenny Odom tells Urbanize Atlanta.
“We’re in the process of securing the date for the official groundbreaking,” Odom wrote via email today. “When we have a confirmed timeline, we will share it.”
It marks the first time the agency has committed to a firm month for construction on the Southside Trail section to launch—and for the popular, rugged interim trail to be made off-limits to the general public.
Last summer, BeltLine officials predicted a contractor would be granted permission to proceed with work on Segments 4 and 5 in the fall, but they warned actual construction could take several more months to begin.
At that time, the segments in question had moved into the shovel-ready phase, meaning all utility relocation work, real estate transactions, and needed permitting had wrapped.
The scope of the 1.2-mile project includes rebuilding the United Avenue bridge—a gap in the corridor that’s hassled patrons, especially bicyclists, for more than two years.
Once Segments 4 and 5 open, BeltLine users will be able to travel from Piedmont Park down to Boulevard, south of Zoo Atlanta, on a contiguously paved and protected multi-use trail. The project will also serve to stitch back together Grant Park, Ormewood Park, and Boulevard Heights neighborhoods.
Just don’t expect a ribbon-cutting soon.
BeltLine officials have said construction of Segments 4 and 5 will take roughly two years, putting the opening sometime in 2025. (That’s a similar timeline for the last missing piece of the Westside Trail, a 1.3-mile project that’s also scheduled to begin construction early this year.)
On the brighter side, once the next Southside Trail piece opens, it will create roughly five miles of uninterrupted BeltLine on the east and south sides of town, with only a half-dozen at-grade street crossings along the route.
That will still leave a gap of 1.9 miles (Segments 2 and 3), directly south of downtown, between paved sections of the Southside Trail, which in Southwest Atlanta link to the three-mile Westside Trail today.
Developments of note under construction along Segments 4 and 5 include the Argos Apartments (194 units) and the 1015 Boulevard SE project (323 units, plus retail) in Grant Park; along with two projects by TPA Residential (503 apartments total, plus about 7,500 square feet of retail) in Boulevard Heights. That’s more than 1,000 rentals and 12,000 square feet of retail in various states of construction either directly on the Southside Trail segments in question or within a quick walk.
Which sounds like built-in patronage waiting to happen.
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