Despite the presence of heavy equipment, huge wiring spools, and porta potties, the next section of the BeltLine’s Southside Trail has yet to begin construction a month after Atlanta’s mayor led a groundbreaking ceremony on the dirt path dividing several neighborhoods.  

The positive take is that Southside Trail Segments 4 and 5 are still accessible to the public—and should remain so for a few weeks. On the downside, the estimated two-year construction process of building the crucial Southside Trail section—once expected to begin last year—has yet to commence.

BeltLine spokesperson Jenny Odom tells Urbanize Atlanta this week that fiber work on the Southside Trail corridor between Glenwood Avenue and Boulevard is taking longer than initially anticipated. Officials had previously said fiber lines along the 1.2-mile section need to be relocated before construction can fully begin.

“We’re looking at the first or second week of May to close down the trail,” Odom wrote in an email.

The Southside Trail's unbuilt Segment 5 near Glenwood Avenue today. Josh Green/Urbanize Atlanta

When the Southside Trail’s March 13 groundbreaking was announced earlier this year, the expectation was the BeltLine’s selected contractor, Reeves Young Construction, would be shutting down public access to the interim path sometime this month.

BeltLine officials have said construction of the next Southside Trail section should take roughly two years once it starts. The scope includes rebuilding the United Avenue bridge—a gap in the corridor that’s hassled patrons, especially bicyclists, for three years.

Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

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.

Meanwhile, on the flipside of downtown, construction to finish the full Westside Trail has already begun, following a separate official groundbreaking last month.

The Westside and Southside sections in question are now listed as "under construction" on the BeltLine's progress map. Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

That 1.3-mile section (Segment 4) will fill the last gap between existing Westside Trail pieces and the connector trail that shoots out of downtown, linking neighborhoods from Capitol View to Blandtown with Atlanta’s commercial core. That’s expected to open, with several new elevated structures and bridges, in summer 2025.

Those new BeltLine projects will join the Northeast Trail section currently under construction between Piedmont Park and the Lindbergh area. That 1.2-mile northeastern piece of the loop is expected to finish construction and open this fall, with finishing touches such as landscaping to continue into early 2024.  

Elsewhere, BeltLine officials indicated last week another piece of the 22-mile loop—the Northeast Trail’s Segment 1, branching off the popular Eastside Trail through Piedmont Park—is now expected to begin construction in coming weeks, six months ahead of schedule.


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• Ormewood Park news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)