A broken-down crane at a Buckhead construction site has blocked lanes Peachtree Road for days without proper permits, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation. A stop-work order has been issued until the crane is gone, GDOT says.

It’s the latest traffic tie-up caused by work on residential towers around Peachtree and Pharr roads, which has drawn local residents’ complaints for months.

A design illustration of the Sutton apartment tower.

The crane was working on the Sutton apartment tower site at 2965 Peachtree. The Sutton’s developer, Preserve Properties, was not immediately available for comment. But the construction contractor, Gilbane Building Company, issued a statement saying an unnamed subcontractor was responsible for seeking permits.

“We understood our subcontractor had filed the right paperwork and received the proper approvals to have a crane in that location,” said the Gilbane statement, provided by spokesperson Wes Cotter. “We are working with the Georgia Department of Transportation and the city of Atlanta police department to complete the necessary and safe removal of the crane as soon as possible.”

The Sutton site is just south of Mill Creek’s Modera Buckhead apartment tower that is also on the rise on the Pharr corner.

The projects are built right up the sidewalk and frequently use lanes of Peachtree for construction work. Peachtree doubles as a state route and is controlled by GDOT, which issues permits for such work. Construction done in any part of the road is called “right of way encroachment” and requires a permit.

GDOT spokesperson Natalie Dale says that Sutton’s contractors have the proper permits for “intermittent” and “minimal” lane closures for construction work. But different permits are required for long-term lane closures – like parking a crane in the road.

“They did not get clearance for additional permitting for these closures,” Dale said in an email. “Unfortunately, when we discovered they had their crane in our road and told them to remove it, we also learned the crane had broken down. We presented them with a stop work letter, so no work should be going on at this time that is not directly related to the removal of the crane.”

The intermittent closures have drawn complaints from residents as well. In one discussion, NPU-B members in October said the work was causing congestion and dangerous situations because the crews were blocking lanes without any flaggers.

It remains unclear where the crane was intended to be placed for construction work. As the Reporter previously reported in an investigation on crane safety, different jurisdictions have different rules on crane operations. But both GDOT and the city of Atlanta require extensive permitting for any crane operation on or over public right of way like streets and sidewalks. The city did not immediately respond to questions about whether the Sutton site crane required and received any permits.

Correction: An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect name for the Sutton’s developer.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.