It’s one of the most venerable bridges in the area, dating to the original construction of Cobb Parkway (U.S. 41) through that area in 1935. That road was the first four-lane divided highway in the state of Georgia and connected Atlanta with Marietta (and by World War II with the Bell Bomber plant here). As such, “The Four Lane” was a point of pride, and the Chattahoochee Bridge was state-of-the-art for Georgia.
But that was then, and this is now.
By modern standards, the bridge seems exceptionally narrow, with no safety barrier between north and south-bound traffic. And its thick concrete railing/parapet and lack of shoulders contribute to a feeling of claustrophobia as one goes over the river.
Of course, traffic across that bridge is probably 10 or more times what it was when it was built, which also contributes to the perception of its obsolescence.
The good news is that the state Department of Transportation has set aside $12.6 million for a replacement, according to an announcement this month. The new six-lane bridge should be complete by December 2014.
The bridge will be owned by Fulton County, so its cost to Cobb is a mere $1,400 for internal project management and review. A heck of a bargain for Cobb taxpayers, in other words. Meanwhile, the Cumberland Community Improvement District is chipping in $870,000 toward its design.
GDOT spokesmen say it will feature a safety divider, sidewalks and spacious shoulders. At present, only those with a death wish would try to traverse the bridge’s length by foot.
The bridge project is part of the widening of Cobb Parkway to six lanes from there north to Akers Mill Road at Cumberland Mall.
All in all, it’s a project that will trade short-term hassle for long-term benefit and vastly increased safety, and which surely will be welcomed by motorists.