The Atlanta BeltLine’s grand entrance into the city’s premier park could happen sooner than expected.

Atlanta BeltLine Inc. officials announced today they’re seeking a construction firm to pave the Northeast Trail’s Segment 1—six months ahead of schedule.

The .9-mile segment is key in that it will channel northbound patrons of the wildly popular Eastside Trail—which ends at Monroe Drive, where crowds often accumulate—directly into Piedmont Park, bypassing all sidewalks and bike lanes on streets.

The BeltLine plans to close an Invitation to Bid on the project May 10.

Agency heads say the Segment 1 project is expected to launch construction shortly after a firm is selected and a contract finalized. A public meeting to introduce the winning contractor and outline work schedules is also planned.

As a revised Northeast Trail Segment 1 map shows, the BeltLine’s plans call for using part of existing paved pathways through a forested area in the park near Atlanta Botanical Garden—and building out one section that’s currently gravel later. (The section fronting Amsterdam Walk, where Portman Holdings is exploring a major redevelopment, would be paved in this next round.)

Where the Northeast Trail Segment 1 will be built and join with existing pathways in Piedmont Park's wooded northern section for now. Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

BeltLine heads say the Northeast Trail through Piedmont Park should take about 18 months to finish—meaning it would open sometime in fall 2024.

Features will include what’s come to be standard with all new BeltLine trails: a 14-foot-wide concrete path, fiber duct bank, connections to adjacent streets, stainless steel handrails and guardrails, lighting, and security cameras, among other components.

BeltLine officials are also partnering with ATLDOT to receive bids on improvements to the often-clogged 10th Street and Monroe Drive intersection, where Segment 1 will end.

Bike lane improvements between the 10th Street cycle track and the new trail section are planned as part of the $250-million Renew Atlanta initiative approved by voters in 2015.

The interim state of the Northeast Trail's Segment 1 today (at right), behind Park Tavern. Google Maps

At its northern end, the Northeast Trail’s Segment 1 will end at Westminster Drive and connect with Segment 2, which is currently under construction.

Segment 2 is on schedule to open this fall, BeltLine officials said today. That will provide a paved route from Piedmont Park, behind Ansley Mall, to the Armour district near SweetWater Brewing Company’s longtime home.

Once that connects with a finished Segment 1, those pieces will add to five miles of uninterrupted, mainline BeltLine that weave up and down Atlanta’s eastside, linking a dozen neighborhoods and stretching from north of Interstate 85 to south of I-20.

So far, 9.3 miles of the main 22-mile BeltLine loop have been finished, and project leaders expect that 80 percent of the BeltLine will either be finished or under construction within the next two years.


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