Another off-street option for bridging Georgia Tech’s campus to quickly developing blocks around Northside Drive and a BeltLine connector trail has taken a step forward.
Following a competition throughout the fall semester, a team of graduate students in a civil engineering and architecture studio special problems course have come up with winning designs for a concept called the Westside Community Connector Bridge.
The project’s goal—as guided by engineering and design professionals—is to eventually provide a safe route for pedestrians and bicyclists from the heart of Georgia Tech’s campus, over active railroad lines, to the Science Square research and office area, where an 18-acre expansion with housing broke ground last summer.
The winning duo—Charles Kim (architecture) and Isaac Wasson (civil engineering)—were inspired by a class trip to London and designs of that city’s iconic Millennium Bridge, according to a Georgia Tech news report.
Highlights of the Westside Community Connector Bridge concept call for unobstructed skyline views (protected by active rail below) and fiber-reinforced, polymer decking that would be lighter, cheaper, and more eco-friendly than steel construction. Much of the bridge could be prefabricated off-site to expedite its construction.
Judges praised the design’s elegance from both architectural and engineering standpoints—and the fact it was the least expensive of five finalists.
Alas, fans of the students’ big idea shouldn’t expect a groundbreaking soon. The campus pedestrian bridge concept will be used “as inspiration to one day make this type of … bridge a reality,” per Georgia Tech.
It’s not the only bridge concept in the works intended to reconnect Midtown and Westside neighborhoods.
Roughly a block north of Science Square, officials with the PATH Foundation and Georgia Tech, alongside private property owners, have compiled a vision for another Westside link to Georgia Tech, and vice versa, as a replacement for the century-old Bankhead Avenue Bridge.
A couple of blocks west, the 1.7-mile Westside BeltLine Connector opened in 2021 as a multi-use trail link between downtown and the area around Westside Park.
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