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The Atlanta BeltLine and Brownfield Remediation and Redevelopment

An aspect of the Atlanta BeltLine that is one of the project’s pillars, but receives less attention than parks, trails and transit, is brownfield remediation. From a regulatory perspective, brownfields have a very specific definition, but the term is often used to describe a location with some degree of contamination.

Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.’s program management officer, Lee Harrop, recently wrote an article about brownfield remediation along the Eastside Trail for Brownfield Renewal Magazine.

In the article, Lee writes:

“As part of the project, significant underground infrastructure was installed before work on the trail itself began. This work included a utility duct bank that will help carry power for lighting as well as current and future utilities that utilize the corridor; retaining walls to maintain the width of the corridor for both transit and trail; the installation of a new bridge and the rehabilitation of a historic rail bridge. But first there had to be remediation. The collaboration and innovation that made the cleanup possible created a different sort of path: A new way for contaminated corridors to be reclaimed.

“The implementing organization, Atlanta Beltline Inc. (ABI), its consultant AMEC, Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division (Georgia EPD), and EPA agreed to complete construction-ready trails as part of the cleanup in order to meet the Eastside Trail schedule. (In addition to ABI, Georgia EPD and EPA, critical partners included the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership and multiple City of Atlanta departments.) This approach resulted in cost savings by eliminating the second round of mobilization crews that dig, haul, and complete sites for construction.

“The challenge in reclaiming the Atlanta BeltLine corridor is common to former railroad sites: widespread and varied levels of contamination, particularly arsenic, which was used as an herbicide to control vegetation. So the remediation solution employed for the Atlanta BeltLine is applicable to not only former rail projects but to any site with widespread, varied levels of contamination.”

Read the whole thing here.

The newly completed Eastside Trail in November, 2012. A significant amount of remediation took place before construction could begin on this project.

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