After breaking ground in November, a pedestrian bridge project that’s been called vital for revitalizing the southern blocks of downtown has succeeded in spanning between two historic neighborhoods.

The Nelson Street bridge project is replacing a failing, century-old bridge with a people-only structure that links the first completed sections of the 50-acre Centennial Yards megaproject with the eastern edge of Castleberry Hill.

The bridge project branches off Ted Turner Drive, continues between the Centennial Lofts buildings, crosses active rail, and terminates near Elliott Street Deli & Pub and Smokey Stallion, a forthcoming barbecue restaurant by NFL quarterback Cam Newton and his family.

The future pedestrian bridge entry from Ted Turner Drive at Centennial Yards South. Josh Green/Urbanize Atlanta

The work comes five years after the circa-1907 bridge was closed following inspections by City of Atlanta engineers, who cited dangerous levels of deterioration. Centennial Yards developer CIM Group tore the bridge down a few years ago and is now building its replacement. 

The Steven & Wilkinson firm designed the bridge project, with Perkins + Will serving as landscape architect. Plans call for lining the bridge with public seating and landscaping but including no travel lanes or space for vehicle parking.

During a site tour last fall, Stream Realty Partners officials said the Nelson Street bridge is scheduled to open in November.

Centennial Yards is expected to eventually repurpose or create at least a dozen city blocks in the shadows of State Farm Arena and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, costing upwards of $5 billion. It’ll be backed by a nearly $2 billion tax-incentive package—the largest in Atlanta history and subject of a previous lawsuit.

The master plan was changed last year to make Centennial Yards more of an extension of surrounding city blocks by continuing the style and scale of existing buildings, while adding what project officials call increased walkability and access.

The pedestrian bridge—as photographed and outlined in the above gallery—should be a crucial component of that.

• Castleberry Hill boutique condo building breaks ground, pauses sales (Urbanize Atlanta)