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Southside Trail Updates: Ormewood Avenue Bridge and United Avenue Bridge

By Robert M. Sarwark

United Avenue after the completion of the emergency bridge demolition. Photo courtesy of Atlanta BeltLine, Inc

The historic Ormewood Avenue Bridge, located on Ormewood Avenue at the Southside Beltline Trail, serves as a gateway between the Ormewood Park and Grant Park neighborhoods. According to a letter from SAND President Nathan Clubb, “This massive bridge is one of our last tangible assets linking us to our historic rail past.” It dates back to 1898-1899, closely following the development of Ormewood Park itself, as well as to the original construction of the Beltline Railroad. A 2006 historic survey by Georgia State University confirmed that the bridge’s underpass is of concrete and steel construction with massive pilasters flanking its arched openings.

The bridge currently serves as an interim section of the Southside Trail and could potentially carry light rail in the future as part of the transit component of that ongoing project. “It truly links the past, present, and future of both the City and the neighborhoods of Ormewood Park and Grant Park,” added GPNA President Laura Keen.

Ormewood Avenue Bridge. Photo by David Y. Mitchell.

The Atlanta Preservation Center (APC), along with support from SAND, GPNA, and NPU-W, is in the process of formally applying to the Atlanta Urban Design Commission’s (AUDC) Office of Design/Historic Preservation Division to achieve a landmark designation for the Ormewood Avenue Bridge. Said David Y. Mitchell, APC’s Director of Operations, “The APC is extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with the community to preserve this city treasure.”

On Friday, July 10, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI), with the assistance of the Georgia Department of Transportation, conducted an emergency demolition of another area bridge, over United Avenue. According to ABI, the unanticipated removal of the bridge — which dates to 1914 — was due to structural damage. This included a crack in one of its steel support beams and the bending of several others, likely the result of trucks that exceeded the bridge’s height restrictions and scraped or struck the underside of the bridge structure.

ABI is currently exploring options to install a temporary bridge across United Avenue to reestablish a continuous interim trail. That could take approximately six months.On July 27, ABI hosted a virtual community meeting to discuss the United Avenue Bridge. The presentation, the full meeting recording, and space for comment can be accessed at

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