17th Street Bridge

Building a Gateway to the City Within a City: 17th Street Bridge

Atlantic Station, an 138-acre innovative live/work/play community in Midtown Atlanta, was master-planned to offer some of the South's best restaurants and shopping, a sixteen screen theater and miles of paths for walking and biking.

The impressive new complex needed easy access from the most populated parts of town, sitting across 21 lanes of interstate from the main roads. Building this bridge and integrating the related roadways was a challenge that called on more ingenuity and experience than most engineers or construction firms might encounter anywhere.

There were several unique design challenges and a specific logistical mandate: construction activity was to be limited to nighttime hours and not to disrupt the traffic flow of the city's two major commuting highways. C.W. Matthews responded with effective planning that facilitated smooth construction.

  • A revised traffic control plan that reduced the number of detours to one and never interfered with mainline commuter traffic.
  • Meaningful reduction of time and liability by shop splicing girders to increase beam length while keeping the weight below the DOT maximum, reducing the number of pieces to be erected from 60 to 48.

The project required several ingenious solutions to deliver a structurally sound construction. The Matthews team delivered in spades:

Building a 30 foot high wall 1575 feet long immediately adjacent to the interstate in only 180 days, involving demolition of 500 LF of existing wall, excavation of 100,000 CY of dirt, shooting and removing 25,000 CY of rock, and pouring 7,500 cubic yards of concrete.
Realignment and extension of local, under-capacity sewers.
Key construction features included 48 steel box girders nearly 165 feet long and 150 tons each.

Known as the "Gateway to Atlanta," the resulting 830 foot linear structure is 130 feet wide, featuring six vehicular traveling lanes, bicycle lanes, a dedicated area for passenger rail and extra wide pedestrian sidewalks.

It has an ornamental canopy, haunched girders, tapered columns, corbelled caps and other architectural features like imprinted sidewalks, a perch rail along the parapet and planters. Today, the bright yellow 17th Street bridge impressively links Midtown proper to Atlantic Station in one of the highest use, most densely populated areas of Atlanta.

This is a flagship project for C.W. Matthews, recognized by the Georgia Department of Transportation as its most notable project statewide for 2002.

71 Years of Service
(1946 - 2017)