The new Courtland Street Bridge opened in downtown Atlanta in 2018, just five months after the 111-year-old bridge it replaced had closed to traffic. This major thoroughfare, surrounded by the campus of Georgia State University (GSU) and the Georgia State Capitol complex, serves thousands of students, faculty, elected officials, business people, and downtown residents daily. The expedited construction and delivery were made possible through the use of accelerated bridge construction (ABC) techniques. The replacement bridge was built in the same footprint as the old bridge, with enhancements that include a 12-foot lane for buses to on- and off-load passengers, expanded sidewalks for pedestrians, and updated lighting and aesthetics on and below the bridge. The final cost was $21 million – $4 million under budget.
Knowing the potentially significant inconvenience of a prolonged closure to the university and others who use the bridge, GDOT applied ABC construction techniques to dramatically shorten construction time, thus providing a much-improved bridge to the public more than 75 percent faster than traditional construction methods – which would have required a two-year closure. Foundation and substructure work on the new bridge were completed before the closure and demolition of the old bridge. An aggressive work schedule further reduced the actual closure.
The bridge replacement also applied innovative design-build construction methods, such as constructing protected access and exit areas through the work zone to key GSU buildings; employing special equipment to install new bridge foundations beneath the old bridge prior to the road closure; and using accelerated concrete mixes and applying precast concrete beams for fast completion of the bridge superstructure.
All of this resulted in a new state of the art bridge opened to traffic–19 months sooner than would have previously been possible, ensuring minimal disruption to the public.