On August 23, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) delivered a key infrastructure improvement to the City of Atlanta – opening the new Mitchell Street Bridge connecting the Castleberry Hill community, the Georgia Dome, World Congress Center and federal office buildings complex downtown. According to GDOT, the project was delivered on time and on budget.
The former Mitchell Street Bridge, owned by the City of Atlanta, was built in 1924; Georgia DOT ordered it closed in 2008 due to structural deficiencies. The Department replaced it in an $8.8 million project funded entirely by federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) stimulus funds. The new structure, constructed by Archer Western Contractors, Inc., features three lanes (one-way eastbound as is Mitchell St. in this area). It has a parking lane on the south side; sidewalks and a bike lane on the north side.
Mitchell Street was one of approximately 300 ARRA Georgia DOT stimulus projects across the state – totaling $55 million+ in bridge work; more than $150 million in safety improvements; more than $350 million in new capacity; $83 million in interstate highway improvements; more than $180 million in resurfacing projects; and $31 million in transit improvements.
Below is a brief chronology leading to the completion date:
The Georgia Department of Transportation recommended the City of Atlanta to close the Mitchell Street Bridge Viaduct in January 2004 due to needed structural repairs. The bridge was downgraded in 2000 to a 3-ton load capacity and has since continued to deteriorate. It was slated for total replacement as part of the 1994 Bond Referendum however, several delays on the part of GDOT as well as the City, precluded its closure.
The city in association with GDOT temporary repaired portions of the bridge to allow for 3-ton vehicle access only, which includes cars, and small pickup trucks or 4-wheel vehicles.
The Mitchell Street Bridge was originally scheduled to be closed during the summer of 2008 for reconstruction. However, the immediate closure was ordered by GDOT on March 14, 2008 as a result of their findings during a biennial inspection which was conducted mid March 2008. The inspection identified severe corrosion in the materials that make up the structure. Once the structure is compromised due to extensive corrosion, cracks and section loss, the bridge is unable to carry the traffic load and may collapse causing damage to property and possible loss of life. Therefore, the bridge was closed to thru traffic to allow for the necessary repairs.
The City entered into a maintenance agreement with GDOT and Norfolk Southern Railroad during construction and after replacement of the Mitchell Street Bridge. The agreement essentially states that GDOT will construct the Bridge, Norfolk Southern will give right of way permission, and the City will maintain it after construction.
The Georgia Department of Transportation funded complete replacement of the bridge which will allow for raised capacity to carry all loads.