Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) is expanding the paved Atlanta BeltLine Northeast Trail in Ansley Park and Piedmont Heights, extending it to another 1.2 miles of trail that, once completed, will connect 45 Atlanta neighborhoods.
As the next segment of the Atlanta BeltLine Northeast Trail goes under construction, the existing unpaved trail between the northern end of Piedmont Park and Ansley Mall will close on June 1, 2022, according to a press release Monday.
Referred to as Northeast Trail — Segment 2, this full segment runs between Westminster Drive in the south to Mayson Street in the north. The paved section of the trail will remain open while lighting is installed. The unpaved sections will remain open to trail users until construction commences on those segments.
“My Administration is drawing circles of inclusion, and the Atlanta BeltLine is the best physical example of that in our city,” Mayor Andre Dickens said in the release. “The investments in the Atlanta BeltLine — including the recent $30 million donation from the James M. Cox Foundation — have made the expansion of the Northeast Trail possible, bringing more greenspace, accessibility and opportunity to all corners of Atlanta.”
The first 0.7-mile phase of the Northeast Trail opened in March 2021 in an advanced interim state, which included the paved multi-use trail and an ADA access point to Montgomery Ferry Road, but still needed additional work to meet BeltLine trail standards. The second phase — that will now go under construction — will include the paved trail, a connection to Piedmont Avenue, lighting and security cameras, bridgework, duct bank, planting, and stormwater management systems for a full 1.2 miles. The multi-use trail will be aligned to accommodate future transit in the same corridor.
“The influx of recent funding has been monumental in providing us resources to further enhance mobility and provide people with more travel options to reach friends, family, businesses, and jobs,” said ABI President and CEO Clyde Higgs.
Construction preparation activities began last month on the southern portion, starting on the timber bridge behind Ansley Mall and running down to Westminster Drive at Piedmont Park. ABI will notify the public of trail closures on other sections as construction advances. Northeast Trail construction between Westminster Drive and Mayson Street is expected to last approximately 16 months.
The remaining two segments of the Northeast Trail are at 30 percent design. Once design and other pre-construction activities are complete, construction on Segment 1, between Monroe Drive and Westminster Drive, could begin in late 2023. It will connect the current paved Eastside Trail to the segment now under construction. As funding is secured, Segment 3 and connecting trails will connect to the Lindbergh MARTA station, PATH400, and the future Northwest Trail. Design on these segments will reach 60 percent design this summer.
Currently, design and construction of the Atlanta BeltLine trails are funded through the BeltLine Tax Allocation District (TAD), BeltLine Special Service District (SSD) bond proceeds, Atlanta Regional Commission’s Transportation Improvement Program, and philanthropic contributions. The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation announced an $80 million contribution in December 2021 and The James M. Cox Foundation announced a complementary $30 million donation this month, completing the philanthropic funding needed to build the remaining 22-mile multi-use trail loop.
The City of Atlanta and ABI are pursuing a US Department of Transportation Mega grant for approximately $70 million to support construction of Northeast Trail from Mayson Street to MARTA Lindbergh Center Station that will require crossing over or under existing MARTA heavy rail, Norfolk Southern freight rail, CSX freight rail, state highways and roads, and Peachtree Creek.