The Eastside Trail extension of the Atlanta BeltLine is moving forward, with concrete being poured along Wylie Street, new lighting going up inside the Krog Street Tunnel and plans to temporarily close Irwin Street to connect the existing trail with the new segment.
Residents got an update on the extension Thursday night at a meeting held at Our Lady of Lourdes in the Old Fourth Ward. Project Manager Meghan Injaychock presented photographs and a timeline of the work to complete the extension, which runs from Irwin Street in the Old Fourth Ward to Kirkwood Avenue in Reynoldstown. Most of the extension is expected to be complete by early summer.
The most visible work taking place is in Cabbagetown and Reynoldstown as construction crews make progress on pouring the concrete along Wylie Street from the entrance to the Krog Street Tunnel to Kirkwood Avenue. Injaychock said the work should be completed by mid-April, weather permitting. After the trail itself is complete, new trees and plants will be installed by Trees Atlanta to continue the BeltLine Arboretum.
Those who travel through the Krog Street Tunnel on foot or by bike will have noticed the new lighting and pavers along the elevated path on the east side of the underpass.
At the busy intersection of Krog and DeKalb Avenue, work has been ongoing to move utilities and repair storm drains. A new pedestrian plaza will be built at the northwest corner of DeKalb Avenue and diagonal crossings – also known as a “pedestrian scramble” – will allow for easy access to any corner of the intersection.
As the extension moves west along DeKalb Avenue, the sidewalk will be removed and replaced with new trail before turning right into the old rail corridor and connecting up with the existing portion at Irwin Street. However, there might be a delay in completing this portion of the trail as the BeltLine works with North American Properties on the timeline for two mixed-use developments (which include apartments, retail and restaurants), which will sit on either side of BeltLine at DeKalb Avenue.
“We don’t want BeltLine users walking between two major construction sites,” Injaychock said. “We also don’t want any damage done to the trail and our investment there as work continues on those developments.”
While details are worked out with North American Properties, work on the BeltLine will continue to create the paved trail under Edgewood Avenue and behind the Stove Works development. The connection of the Eastside Trail at Irwin Street, which will include installation of a speed table and rapid flashing beacons for pedestrians, means motorists and trail users will have to find a new route from March 20 to April 17. Irwin will be closed 24 hours a day between Sampson Street/Auburn Avenue and Krog Street through the work period. Visit this link for detour routes and a map.
“We are hoping to be finished sooner, so we added a few extra days of padding to the timetable,” Injaychock said.
Some residents at the meeting said they were concerned that the vehicle detour would cause even more traffic headaches, especially along Randolph Street. Concern was also voiced about pedestrians crossing Irwin Street on the Eastside Trail and the impact on vehicle traffic.
“There is already a constant stream of people crossing at Irwin now, especially on the weekends,” one resident said. “Cars will be backed up in both directions along Irwin as people try to cross.”
Injaychock said the city will monitor traffic in the area and changes might be made once the trail crossing is complete. She also agreed to talk with residents about potentially moving the temporary detour route to try and prevent backups on Randolph Street.
Injaychock said funding is still being sought to continue the Eastside Trail from Kirkwood Avenue to Memorial Drive.