- Company: Astra Group Inc.
- Industry: Water/Wastewater
- Location: Atlanta, Georgia
- Expected Completion Date: April 15, 2011
- Project Website
The Atlanta Beltline is an ongoing project that will ultimately connect 45 intown Atlanta neighborhoods through a combination of rail, trail, greenspace and housing. In addition, it will provide first and last mile connectivity for regional transportation in the area. It is being built on an existing 22 mile historic rail corridor that encircles the city of Atlanta, and will eventually offer 33 miles of multi-use trails and pedestrian friendly rail transit. It will also offer 1300 acres of parks, and 5600 units of affordable housing. Astra Group worked with Atlanta Watershed Management to create the first park on the Atlanta Beltline. Historic Fourth Ward Park includes a two acre detention pond that provides relief to the City of Atlanta’s combined sewer system. The project included re-routing and reconstructing city streets, elevated walkways, stone walls, water features, decorative railings, exposed aggregate hardscapes, site lighting and landscaping.
What impact does this project have on America?
The Atlanta Beltline has been recognized as being among the largest, most wide ranging urban redevelopment programs currently underway in the United States. This project is creating 30,000 permanent jobs, in addition to 48,000 one year construction jobs. It provides easier connectivity between urban neighborhoods, giving the city a new framework for growth that is transit oriented. It also provides links to existing transit, making it easier to move in and out of the city. The Beltline brings the city together from a cultural perspective, as well, allowing communities to come together more easily, as well as creating a new venue for public art. Meetings, exercise classes and public walks are held along the trail, making it a gathering place for the community. Atlanta’s Beltline is a community initiative that has created unity even while bringing the city together geographically. Historic Fourth Ward Park provides a greenspace for the community that acts as a gathering place for community events as well as an area where residents can relax and play. Historic Fourth Ward Park has won numerous awards, including EPA’s Overall Excellence, Atlanta Urban Design Commission Award, Georgia Association for the Society of Landscape Architects, Brownfield Renewal Award for Sustainability, International Real Estate Federation Grand Prize Award and FIABCI’s Grand Prix of Real Estate Development.
What interesting obstacles or unusual circumstances did you overcome to complete the project?
The city was faced with the need to address sewer relief issues and considered having to create a traditional sewer relief system on valuable intown real estate. Cooperation between the Atlanta Beltine Organization and Atlanta Watershed Management allowed for the creation of this new expansive greenspace that not only addressed the sewer relief need, but created a beautiful new park and water feature, and saved the city $15M. Some of the areas were contaminated, requiring environmental remediation. In addition, these properties have undergone a physical transformation, now boasting native plantings and ecosystems. The remediated areas also now have increased water quality. These properties, once an eyesore, are now celebrated public amenities, bringing national attention to Atlanta.
What dangers and risks did you encounter, and describe any extraordinary methods used to keep workers safe?
Many of the properties used for development were once associated with urban blight, increased crime rate and overall neglect. In addition, the areas were located in congested parts of downtown. Special attention was required to keep both workers and residents safe during construction. Security and traffic control were important aspects of maintaining safety for workers and neighborhood residents.
How did you leverage new technologies to work faster and reduce waste?
HeavyBid was used to bid the work and HeavyJob was used to manage the project. GPS was used to keep track of progress and location of the work.