North Fulton CID, creates gateway with Encore Bridge - North Atlanta Business Post
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Updated Nov 14 @ 1:05PM

North Fulton CID, creates gateway with Encore Bridge

$18M bridge leads effort for rebranding Northpoint area

Encore Bridge over Ga. 400 at North Point Mall is getting a super makeover and lots of TLC. Ensuring that TLC is, at left, Kimley Horn planner and landscape consultant for the North Fulton CID Eric Bosman, ACIP. With him are North Fulton CID Executive Director Ann Hanlon and Senior Project Manager Aaron Wadley with Atkins North America Inc.
North Fulton CID consultant Eric Bosman shows what the finished work on Encore Bridge looks like.

• The $18 million project has widened the existing two-lane Encore Parkway between Westside Parkway and North Point Parkway, a distance of 0.7 miles. The new roadway will include:

• Two 14-foot travel lanes,

• Two 6-foot bike lanes,

• 8-foot sidewalks on either side,

• Landscaped buffers on each side,

• A raised, landscaped median.

• A sidewalk will connect the east side of North Point Parkway and the new Encore Bridge to give greater access to the Big Creek Greenway trail.

• The bridge’s streetscape features include trees, landscaping, pedestrian lighting, street furniture, and architectural bridge elements. 

ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Passing over or under the not-quite-finished Encore Bridge over Ga. 400 and connecting Westside Parkway with Northpoint Parkway, you know this is not your average bridge widening.

Call it a bridge makeover. The $18 million project begun a year ago is open to traffic but still has some finishing touches – and oh what touches they are.

The North Fulton Community Improvement District (CID) has adopted the project, beautifying the bridge and improving it to be a multimodal portal linking Verizon Amphitheater Encore Park at Encore Parkway to Northpoint Parkway and the Alpharetta Greenway.

The North Fulton CID wants to integrate Westside Parkway and Northpoint Parkway which straddle Ga. 400 so that between them is a well-branded and distinct live-work-shop-play area.

“Encore Bridge will be a big part of branding the CID’s area, and we intend for it to be a gateway that is both multimodal and makes a visual statement as well,” said North Fulton CID Executive Director Ann Hanlon.

It will easily handle pedestrian foot traffic well screened from the bike lanes and motorist lanes. In addition it will be well-landscaped.

“The bridge will carry through the look and the feel that the district will have throughout,” she said.

Atkins North America Inc. Senior Project Manager Aaron Wadley has been charged with making it all happen.

“It has been an engineering challenge as well as an aesthetic one,” Wadley said. “The challenge is to take that aesthetic appeal and maintain it. But we will have plazas, and the major intersections that will do just that throughout the district.”

That starts with the stone pillars and the stone bridge over Ga. 400.

It has been the job of Kimley Horn planner and landscape consultant Eric Bosman to mark each molded concrete “stone” for Hunt Valley Contractors to paint using their pallet of colors.

“We did a mock-up three times to get the right mix and mingle of the colors that make up the palette used on the mold,” Bosman said.

Those forms are then “washed” with a solution after they are painted that blends the colors of the concrete “stones” giving them a natural look. The overall effect creates a realistic patina.

“The effect is really something,” Bosman said. “It gives the bridge a distinctive look and personality.”

He said using real stone was not an option because Ga. 400 is a state highway, and the Georgia Department of Transportation will allow only concrete bridges to span the roadway.

North Fulton Community Improvement District is contributing almost a third of the cost ($6 million) so that Encore Bridge is a true gateway into the North Fulton CID’s district.

“It is all about giving walkability and livability qualities to this part of the Northpoint corridor,” said Hanlon. “The original plan for the bridge did nothing to encourage people to get out of their cars. We think it is necessary to be a walkable community to be sustainable. The main reason for the project is to create a pedestrian crossing over Ga. 400.”

The enhanced bridge will change the way people think about the area, she said.

Hanlon pointed to the new projects that have gone up at the bridgehead on the Westside Parkway (eastern) side of the road.

“Making the bridge not only accessible to bike and foot traffic but by actually inviting it has been transformational for the area,” she said.

Instead of more commercial development at the Westside bridgehead, the proximity of Verizon Wireless Amphitheater at Encore Park, Northpoint Mall and the Big Creek Greenway in one area has sparked three major residential developments at the western bridgehead totaling $58 million. They are:

• Overture at Encore, a gated John Wieland townhome community with 76 homes of 3,000 square feet-plus and 4 bedrooms. $550,000 and up.

• Encore Walk, a 38-townhome community with two or three levels starting at $400,000.

• Echo Apartments with 111 “luxury” units, pool, gym and restaurant on the premises. Opening soon.

Alpharetta Community Development Director Kathi Cook says the Encore Bridge project is having a huge impact on the Northpoint-Westside Parkway corridor at the mall.

“This is only the beginning of rebranding the Northpoint area. But we are already seeing a new interest in the district,” Cook said. “The multimodal aspects that link not only the mall but the greenway as well create new opportunities in the area. And we are seeing them already.”

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