Duluth & Johns Creek Officials Break Ground at Rogers Bridge Park on New Pedestrian Bridge

The City of Duluth, in partnership with the City of Johns Creek, Gwinnett County and Fulton County broke ground on the pedestrian bridge at Rogers Bridge Park this morning. Representatives from all sides were present and participated in the ceremony.

Pictured left to right: Gwinnett County District 1 Commissioner Kirkland Carden, Duluth Mayor Nancy Harris, Gwinnett County Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson, Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker and Fulton County Commissioner Liz Hausmann

This is a partnership 15 years in the making! In 2006, Gwinnett County commissioned a study of Rogers Bridge to determine its structural integrity. The goal was to repurpose the bridge for pedestrians and in doing so, reconnect the communities on each side of the Chattahoochee River. In 2014, the City of Duluth took over the project and confirmed the study results. Duluth then applied for a grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission in order to develop construction plans for the bridge. The grant provided $560,000 to the City and required a local match in the amount of $140,000. As the project is of regional significance, Duluth teamed up with the City of Johns Creek and Fulton and Gwinnett Counties to come up with the $140,000 match. Evenly split, each local partner contributed $35,000 toward what is referred to as the “preconstruction” effort, which culminated in the development of construction plans.

At the time the plans were in their initial stages of development, it was not yet known if the bridge would be rehabilitated or replaced. Along the preconstruction journey, it was determined that the existing bridge was eligible for the National Register of Historic Places due to its unique construction method. The existing bridge is a 228’ long pin-connected Pennsylvania Petit truss. As such, the design team carefully documented the bridge’s history as well as its current condition. Ultimately, the Department of Natural Resources agreed the bridge could not be salvaged as is and approved its replacement. Concurrently, the preconstruction team reached out to citizens and stakeholders through various meetings and public open houses held in multiple locations (in multiple languages) to gain feedback as to what the ultimate users of the facility would want. Participants voted on their favored selection of bridge type and it was ultimately determined that a replica truss would best suit the needs of the end users. Both Councils and both Commissions concurred and the design team moved forward with developing construction plans for the replica truss.

The preconstruction process took about 4 years to complete and followed strict state and federal guidelines. Once again, the City reached out to the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Georgia Department of Transportation to assist with funding of the construction. And again, the four local partners came together, this time to participate with $350,000 each for a local match of $1,400,000. GDOT covered approximately $700,000. And ARC covered the remaining approximate $5,100,000. We anticipate the construction to take 18 months and be completed in the summer of 2022, at which time we will celebrate the partnerships we’ve built as well as the new structure itself.

The preconstruction team included Duluth, Johns Creek, Fulton County and Gwinnett County as financial match partners along with the Atlanta Regional Commission, Federal Highway Administration, National Parks Services, Georgia DOT and the Environmental Protection Division’s Department of Natural Resources as additional governmental partners. In addition, Parks Departments from both Cities, Historical Societies from both Cities and local bike/pedestrian advocates participated on our stakeholder team. The design was led by Development Planning & Engineering with structural design support from CHA and environmental documentation and process support by Edwards-Pitman Environmental, Inc. While Duluth managed the project and the process during preconstruction and will continue to do so through construction, all major decisions were vetted by the stakeholder group and approved by the financial partners. The construction team is led by Astra Group with KCI Technologies representing the City’s interests as the construction administrator on site.

The City of Duluth is looking forward to a successful project and a beautiful bridge connecting us to our neighbors across the Chattahoochee River.

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