Whitewater on the Chattahoochee officially begins Saturday, but gawkers will have to wait a few months to view the action from the 14th Street pedestrian bridge, city officials said today.
Most of the work on the actual bridge has been completed, but a section of the approach to the bridge on the Georgia side was found to be unstable and had to be replaced, according to Rick Jones, the city’s director of planning.
Once that work is done, the bridge will be open to the public, Jones said, even though two more projects will still be under way in the area. Jones said he expects the bridge to be complete and opened by the end of August, and hopefully a little earlier.
After the bridge is opened, work will continue on the “Plaza,” which is the stretch of 14th Street from Broadway to the bridge, to make it more pedestrian and bicycle friendly, while still maintaining full access to the TSYS parking garage, Jones said.
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Meanwhile, beneath the bridge on the Georgia side, work will begin on connecting the north and south ends of the Riverwalk, a project that has been approved by the Georgia Department of Transportation and will soon be contracted out. Jones said he expects the connector to be complete by June of next year.
“There are really three distinct projects going on now in that whole area,” Jones said. “When they’re done, then we are turning out attention north to the section of the Riverwalk at City Mills and the section at North Highlands, getting those links under construction, hopefully in the next 12 months.”
Jones said the challenge facing engineers at the North Highland Dam is the abrupt change of elevation created by the dam.
“Right now, we’re looking at some kind of a switch-back,” Jones said. “It’s at least 30 feet or more. That’s quite a jump there that the engineers are going to have to overcome. We’ve just turned the consultants loose on that.”