Telling those gathered for the celebration that it is rare when a politician can officiate at both the groundbreaking and ribbon cutting of a major project in the same term, Gov. Sonny Perdue officially dedicated the Perimeter Center Parkway Bridge—commonly known as the “flyover bridge” at 2 p.m. on Nov. 13.

But the bridge is not yet officially “open for traffic.” That will happen later in November.

A long-time goal of the Perimeter business community, the bridge that connects Hammond Drive on the north to Lake Hearn Drive on the south of I-285 became a major focus of the Perimeter Community Improvement District (PCID) in 1999.

In 2005, the bridge achieved a priority ranking in Perdue’s Fast Forward transportation program and the groundbreaking was in February 2005, less than three years ago.

The $35 million Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) project connects two of the Perimeter areas two major markets, the commercial, retail and residential market of Perimeter Center on the north to large healthcare marketplace of Pill Hill to the south. The pedestrian friendly bridge provides alternative transportation choices to bypass the Ashford Dunwoody interchange and Peachtree Dunwoody Road.

The Perimeter connector is landscaped, has two lanes in each direction complete with a bicycle lane, sidewalks, street lamps and a median divided by decorative concrete tiles. It provides choices for pedestrians, cyclists, joggers and walkers.

Yvonne Williams, president of the PCID, had the job of coordinating the business sector’s lobbying effort to hasten construction of the bridge. The push from the business sector helped keep the bridge project on schedule and it was built in two years.

Except for the fifth runway bridge at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, this bridge is the first span over I-285 the state has built since 1986.

The Perimeter office market is the largest in the region, with 21.6 million square feet and supplying more than 150,000 jobs. Vacancy rates were the second lowest in the metro Atlanta area, at 14.7 percent, trailing

Buckhead by just a fraction.

There is more than 6 million square feet of retail space in the market, including Perimeter Mall.

The bridge project has been a partnership between GDOT, the Federal Highway Administration and working with the local DeKalb County government and business community.

–John Schaffner