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Beltline officials shopping for firms to launch Southside Trail construction

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“We anticipate breaking ground before the end of the year,” project leaders say

A woman at left rides a bike on a gravel trail through a lone stone tunnel.
The Southside Trail corridor includes this old train tunnel.
Curbed Atlanta

Construction of the four-mile arc of the Beltline that would one day link the bustling Eastside Trail with its younger Westside sibling appears to be on the horizon.

Last week, Atlanta Beltline officials posted online an invitation to bid for construction companies that want to build the first leg of the Southside Trail.

“We anticipate breaking ground before the end of the year,” reads a Beltline blog post.

The first piece of the Southside Trail would extend off the Westside Trail’s southern terminus and bend three-quarters of a mile toward the Downtown Connector, near Pittsburgh Yards.

It’s projected to cost some $16 million—a fraction of the Southside Trail’s potentially $70 million price tag.

In recent months, the Southside Trail has been transformed from an overgrown and polluted stretch of former railroad land into a relatively inviting temporary hiking trail, replete with new staircases, lighting, railings, and footbridges.

The western segment of the Southside Trail is scheduled to close to the public once construction gets underway on the 14-foot-wide concrete path.

The finished product is expected to feature ADA access at Allene Avenue, Metropolitan Parkway, Pittsburgh Yards, and Capitol View Manor, according to the blog post.

It would also have trail-side lighting, surveillance cameras, and landscaping by Trees Atlanta.

Beltline officials are still hammering out the design details and advancing real estate acquisition needed to pave the full four-mile length of the Southside Trail.

“While additional funding is needed for the remaining construction, the corridor is scheduled to be shovel-ready by 2020,” per the post.

Bids for the first part of the project are due October 18, and the selected contractor is required to finish the western piece of the trail no more than a year after the Beltline gives the go-ahead to start construction.