Construction of the “model mile” of the Peachtree Creek Greenway in Brookhaven is now underway with plans to complete the first link of the planned 12-mile regional trail within nine months. Brookhaven officials are also set to invest $200,000 in a future bridge in Buckhead to ensure the Greenway connects to the Atlanta BeltLine.

A ceremonial groundbreaking for the first 1.2-mile section of the Greenway between North Druid Hills Road and Briarwood Road was held Dec. 12. Officials from Atlanta, Chamblee, Doraville, DeKalb County as well as state lawmakers and federal officials were on hand for the ceremony held on a portion of the 19-acre Briarwood Road property the city purchased for a future trailhead.

A rendering shows the concept design for the Confluence Bridge planned for Buckhead. (South Fork Conservancy)

The dream of the Peachtree Creek Greenway has been around for nearly 20 years when it was included in a DeKalb County multiuse trail master plan. But work to make the trail a reality ramped up after Brookhaven was incorporated in 2012.

Once considered a linear park, the Greenway has evolved over the years to become part of a regional trail plan for all of metro Atlanta. The Greenway master plan includes a 12-mile multiuse trail connecting Brookhaven, Chamblee, Doraville, Mercer University in unincorporated DeKalb County and eventually the Atlanta BeltLine. Those are the “A, B, C, D’s” of the Greenway, Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst said at the Dec. 12 groundbreaking event.

To ensure the Greenway connects to the BeltLine, the Brookhaven City Council last month approved a resolution to invest $200,000 on a “confluence bridge” that would be at least 10-feet wide designed by the South Fork Conservancy.

The bridge is planned to be constructed north of I-85 and between Piedmont Road and Lindbergh Drive, where PATH400, the BeltLine and Greenway meet, at an expected cost of $2.38 million.

The Buckhead Community Improvement District earlier this year approved $200,000 to fund widening the bridge that was originally expected to be 8-feet wide. But as more trails connect to the bridge to get to the BeltLine, the BCID, Brookhaven and the South Fork Conservancy want the bridge to be at least 10 feet wide to handle the expected foot and bike traffic.

Brookhaven’s funding of the bridge is dependent on the city of Atlanta’s support of the completion of the Peachtree Creek Greenway from the Brookhaven city line to the planned Buford Spring Connector to the bridge, said Greenway Project Manager Patty Hansen.

“This is a trail of regional significance and this is a critical gap [between Brookhaven and Buford Spring Connector],” she said. “We feel positive with the cooperation of groups working on this that we can move forward.”

But if Atlanta does not step in to help fund that link to the bridge, the city would not invest $200,000 in the bridge, she added. “There’s no reason to help with the bridge if we can’t get there,” she said.

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