The Cities of Duluth & Johns Creek Make Progress on New Pedestrian Bridge

The City of Duluth, in partnership with the City of Johns Creek, Gwinnett County and Fulton County installed a large section of the new pedestrian bridge at Rogers Bridge Park on June 10, 2022.

The newly placed truss is the same 228’ in length as the original, with a similar design. However, the new model is significantly heavier weighing in at 287,000 lbs. The original truss was a mere 170,000 lbs in comparison. The truss was prefabricated and then welded and assembled on-site. Assembly took two weeks and 47 loads tractor trailer loads of truss pieces. Once it was ready to be installed, an 825-ton Demag Crawler with 1.4 million lbs. of counterweights was required to safely move the massive structure into its final home over the Chattahoochee River.

This is a project 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 was 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 bridge to be completed later this year, officially connecting the City of Duluth and Johns Creek parks!

The City of Duluth would like to thank all our partners, without whom this project would not have been possible: FHWA, GDOT, ARC, Fulton & Gwinnett Counties, Johns Creek, the Thomas & Hutton/CHA design team, the KCI inspection team and the Astra construction team.

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