The second phase of the Northeast Trail includes constructing the multi-use path under the Piedmont Avenue bridge, facing north in this photo. The trail will be built to the right, behind the bridge columns, to leave space under the wider portion of the bridge for future transit. (Atlanta Beltline Inc.)

Construction is underway on the next phase of the Atlanta BeltLine’s Northeast Trail that would eventually connect Buckhead’s Lindbergh Center MARTA Station to the bustling Eastside Trail. 

Atlanta Beltline Inc. (ABI) broke ground this week on the half-mile of work needed to finish the second phase of the Northeast Trail. The project is expected to take 16 months to complete. When finished, the second phase will complete the 1.2-mile stretch between Westminster Drive at the northern edge of Piedmont Park to Mayson Drive near the growing Armour/Ottley commercial district in southern Buckhead.

The groundbreaking comes a month after the James M. Cox Foundation donated $30 million to the Atlanta BeltLine. Last year, ABI secured $80 million secured from The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. Beltline officials said the donations meant they have the philanthropic funding needed to finish the 22-mile trail corridor by 2030.

Design and construction of the Atlanta BeltLine trails are also funded through the BeltLine Tax Allocation District (TAD), BeltLine Special Service District (SSD) bond proceeds and Atlanta Regional Commission’s Transportation Improvement Program.

A map of the phase 2 of the Atlanta BeltLine’s Northeast Trail now under construction between Westminster Drive and Mayson Street. Phase one between between Ansley Mall and the Buford Spring Connector, called the “hairpin,” was paved by Georgia Power and finished last year. The entire stretch is 1.2 miles. (Atlanta Beltline Inc.)

“The investments in the Atlanta BeltLine—including the recent $30 million donation from the James M. Cox Foundation—have made the expansion of the Northeast Trail possible, bringing more greenspace, accessibility and opportunity to all corners of Atlanta,” Mayor Andre Dickens said in a news release.

Added Clyde Higgs, president and CEO of Atlanta BeltLine Inc., “The influx of recent funding has been monumental in providing us resources to further enhance mobility and provide people with more travel options to reach friends, family, businesses, and jobs.”

The Northeast Trail’s second phase will include the paved trail, a connection to Piedmont Avenue, lighting and security cameras, bridgework, planting and stormwater management systems. The multi-use trail will be aligned to accommodate future transit in the same corridor, according to ABI.

The first phase of the Northeast Trail was finished last year. The 0.7 mile section runs behind Ansley Mall to the Buford Spring Connector. This portion was constructed as a partnership between Georgia Power and ABI. The entire Northeast Trail is slated to extend 4.5 miles, from the northern end of the Eastside Trail to MARTA’s Lindbergh Center.

There are two remaining segments of Northeast Trail still in the design phase. Segment one is planned to run about a mile along Piedmont Park from Monroe Drive to Westminster Drive. Construction on this section could begin in late 2023, according to ABI.

Segment 3 of the Northeast Trail is a 2.4 mile trail from Buford Highway to MARTA Lindbergh Center. It would connect to PATH400 and the future Northwest Trail. This section is still under design. It is also the trickiest part of the 22-mile Beltline loop’s design because it does not follow abandoned rail lines. The segment also includes crossing MARTA heavy rail, Norfolk Southern freight rail, CSX freight rail, state highways and Peachtree Creek.

The City of Atlanta and ABI are pursuing a U.S. Department of Transportation Mega grant for approximately $70 million to fund construction of this portion of the Northeast Trail, according to a news release.

Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.