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Atlanta's Bridge Prospects are Looking Up

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Once purely functional constructs to unite two points across a chasm, bridge concepts are now turning toward high design

A proposal for adding lights to bridges in downtown.

Atlanta has a lot of bridges. Most of them are pretty boring, constructed of basic concrete or painted steel, topped with chain-link or even barbed wire.


But lately, a few bridges have begun to receive special treatment. With spruced up designs including decorative arches, plantings, and lighting, what were once merely necessary pieces of infrastructure are being transformed into showpieces. Here are some of the biggest bridge "renovations" to happen or be proposed in the city:

Peachtree Street bridge (north)

The Peachtree Street bridge between Midtown and Buckhead.
Midtown Alliance

Intended as a gateway into the city from Buckhead, the Peachtree Road Bridge spanning Interstate 85, just north of the Brookwood Split, is currently getting a major revamp with planters and big arches. Construction began on the bridge late last year, and should wrap up before the end of 2016.

Peachtree Street bridge (south)

The Peacthree Street bridge in downtown.

The Peachtree Street Bridge to the north is complemented by a second bridge revamp just a couple of miles south. Together, the two bridges bookend Midtown, eventually providing enhanced pedestrian experiences above, and enhanced visuals for those on the interstate below. The construction timeline for this bridge is similar to its northern counterpart.

10th Street bridge

A rendering of Sinuosity.
via Midtown Alliance

This proposal was the winner of the Atlanta Bridgescape Competition held last year. Titled "Sinuosity," the entry looks almost like a rib cage wrapping the traversable span. While still just a proposal, hopefully this project will happen and continue the trend of enlivening The Connector.

Jimmy Carter Boulevard bridge

The Jimmy Carter Boulevard bridge.
Peter Drey

For a few years, Gwinnett County has been embracing the concept of diverging-diamond bridges along the Interstate 85 corridor. And along with the traffic flow changes, some bridges have received unique designs. The angular form of the Jimmy Carter Boulevard bridge, designed by Peter Drey, is meant to pay homage to the eastern continental divide, which runs along the road.

Pleasant Hill Road bridge

Not far up Interstate 85 from the Jimmy Carter Boulevard bridge, the Pleasant Hill Road bridge received the diverging-diamond treatment and a spiffy new look. This one features a sunburst motif attached to a fancy arched fencing system.

Skip Spann Connector bridge

Just last week, the new Skipp Spann Connector Bridge was unveiled in Kennesaw. With soaring decorative metalwork which creates a silhouette of Kennesaw Mountain, the bridge is a far cry from other spans across Interstate 75.