Fifth Street Pedestrian Plaza Bridge


Atlanta, GA


Georgia Department of Transportation, Atlanta, GA,
and Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA


Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart & Associates, Atlanta, GA


ARCADIS U.S. Inc., Atlanta, GA

Precast Specialty Engingeer (MSE walls):

Reinforced Earth Co., Norcross, GA

Precast Specialty Engineer (planter walls):

Wolverton & Associates, Duluth, GA


Sunbelt Structures Inc., Tucker, GA

Project Scope

Structural Precast Elements:

• 74-in. bulb tees
• Modified 74-in. bulb tees
• Planter walls on bridge
• Mechanically stabilized earth wall panels


$10.12 million ($177/SF)


2007 PCI Design Award Winner -
Best Non-Highway Bridge and
Co-Winner - Best Sustainable Design


Fifth Street Pedestrian Plaza Bridge
Fifth Street Pedestrian Plaza Bridge
Fifth Street Pedestrian Plaza Bridge
Fifth Street Pedestrian Plaza Bridge
Fifth Street Pedestrian Plaza Bridge
Fifth Street Pedestrian Plaza Bridge
Fifth Street Pedestrian Plaza Bridge

This widening and reconstruction of a busy bridge over a major urban interstate to connect two portions of a college campus needed to be completed while the bridge remained open to traffic during a two-year construction period. To accomplish that, designers modified 72-in. precast concrete AASHTO bulb-tee beams to add 2 inches in the flange and web for additional strands to accommodate heavier dead loads. The loads were required because the bridge included high planter walls that not only helped to control noise but serve as landscaping areas.

The bridge features two spans, a 137-ft-long section featuring 28 beams modified to 76 in. deep and a 119'6" segment with standard 74-in-deep bulb-tee beams. The beams were designed with a 28-day strength of 10,000 psi and used 0.6-in.-diameter strands.

A mechanically stabilized earth wall supports the west end bent of the bridge. Precast concrete panels were used to face the walls for the west abutment, with a rope finish applied to match the finish on the existing walls that abut the project limits on the east side and on the piers.

Providing a Pedestrian-Friendly Environment
The new bridge provides a roadway that is 48 ft wide, the same width as the original structure. However, it carries only two lanes of vehicular traffic; the remaining width is dedicated to bicycle and turning lanes. Each side of the roadway has a 24-ft-wide sidewalk. While the total bridge width is 223 ft 3 in., more than 125 ft are landscaped areas, with 75 ft on the north side and more than 50 ft on the south side. Benches for seating are provided on each side of the bridge. On the south side of the roadway, a trellis provides a bench with shade. On the north side, sloped walkways give pedestrians access to an area of lawn. Decorative lighting illuminates the sidewalks and landscaping on both sides of the bridge. Precast concrete walls separate each of the lawn and landscaped areas from the pedestrian and roadway areas. The planting plan included multi-tiered planting areas that range in height from 1 ft 6 in. to 9 ft. The walls and plantings are the most important aesthetic feature of the new structure and define the character and nature of the new space on Fifth Street. The design called for the walls to be CIP, but Sunbelt decided to precast the walls on site. Special counterforts were designed to replace the CIP system to support the walls.

“The aesthetic features of this bridge are quite appealing, a combination of elements that do a fine job of connecting the campuses. The use of precast concrete elements was applied well and creates a significant upgrade from the existing bridge through the use of precast concrete beams and planter walls. It also was economical for its size. The use of high-strength concrete was a major part of its success.”

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