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Bankhead Highway Bridge, the Westside's beautiful span to nowhere, could be razed with bond package cash

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The list of road repairs, bridge replacements, and "school flashers" on the city's list of potential projects eligible for funding from the upcoming $250 million bond package is long. On the list is the proposed demolition of the iconic and dilapidated Bankhead Highway Bridge on the Westside.

Razing the span won't affect vehicular or pedestrian traffic — the bridge has been closed to vehicular traffic for around 20 years since one side was partially razed to make room for a parking lot. But it will wipe away what's left of a literal and symbolic link that gave people who lived in West Atlanta and along Bankhead Highway (now known as Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway) access to Marietta Street shops.

Plans pitched over the years to build restaurants on top of the bridge boasting grand skyline views have gone nowhere. More recently it's served as a place for homeless men and women to sleep. Last year, the bridge was one of several routes proposed as a possible transit bridge for a streetcar route from Georgia Tech to Hollowell Parkway.

According to the city, the Bankhead bridge made it on the list of eligible projects because: the Georgia Department of Transportation has recommended its approval because it is beyond salvation; the span has been closed for around 20 years; and that most recent sufficiency rating analysis conducted by GDOT was conducted approximately five years ago — and the city's bridge engineer "believes it was under 20." Finally, the city says, debris falling onto the railroad tracks underneath have caused problems for the railroad and the homeless.

As we reported last week, city officials are still soliciting input about which projects should get a slice of the $250 million bond package that voters will decide on March 17. If you're interested in seeing the bridge go bye-bye, keeping it around, or recommending other projects that haven't earned a nod from city officials, you should attend a meeting, visit the bond package website, or contact your Atlanta City Council representative.



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