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Downtown’s $27M new pedestrian bridge won’t open to public for Super Bowl LIII

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The City of Atlanta approved funding to ensure the serpentine structure would serve Big Game patrons

A rendering of the new Mercedes Benz Stadium bridge at night.
A rendering for the multimillion-dollar project.
Courtesy of CPL

Fumble!

The City of Atlanta approved millions of dollars in additional funding for the downtown pedestrian bridge arcing over Northside Drive specifically to be ready for Super Bowl LIII. Nonetheless, officials announced Monday it would be closed to the public for the Big Game, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Instead, the snakelike structure will serve Super Bowl staffers and credentialed media, leaving visitors to fend for themselves when crossing some streets to the host site, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the paper reported.

It might help that Northside Drive will be closed Super Sunday from Ivan Allen Boulevard to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, according to the Super Bowl LIII website.

But, just like when the Atlanta Streetcar halted service during recent major events—it’ll be running during the Super Bowl, thankfully—people are still peeved that infrastructure constructed for the sole purpose of moving folks around the city is failing to do its job.

Google Maps

What was initially supposed to be a $13 million project resulting in a neon-lit bridge linking the western border of Northside Drive—namely the Vine City MARTA station—with Atlanta’s new sports arena had spiked in total costs, due in part to a sense of urgency to complete it for the biggest event in American football.

MARTA is even encouraging people not to get off at the Vine City stop, according to a Twitter post by the transit agency. Instead, they should use the Dome/GWCC/State Farm Arena/CNN station.

Early last year, the Atlanta City Council elected to green light more than $12 million in additional funding for the pedestrian bridge—“because of next year’s Super Bowl,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in March—and urbanist blog ThreadATL clocks the current price tag at upwards of $27 million.

“It’s almost as insane that the [MARTA] station and the signage still are Georgia Dome/GWCC/Philips Arena,” Matt Garbett, cofounder of ThreadATL, told Curbed Atlanta. “I mean, we can’t get the little things right.”

The bridge hasn’t been open long, either. One of its first major showcases was December’s Major League Soccer championship game—which Atlanta United won handily, by the way.

The bridge in December.
Curbed Atlanta