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Atlanta Botanical Garden walkway construction to resume

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An image of the "Canopy Walk" planned for Storza Woods. Courtesy Jova, Daniels, Busby and the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Ten months after a deadly walkway collapse at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, construction of the 600-foot Canopy Walk is set to resume in October.

The “treewalk” is a winding, 40-foot high walkway designed to take visitors on a canopy-level walk through the Garden’s Storza Woods. It’s set to open in May, 2010. It’s part of a $55 million Green Expansion that has already opened a new visitor center, green roof, parking facility, pedestrian path and additional garden. An edible garden and “cascade” garden are to open in 2010, along with the walkway.

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The walkway after the collapse on Dec. 19, 2008. AJC file photo

The walkway is touted by Mary Pat Matheson, the Garden’s executive director, as a “must-see destination for both gardeners and those who simply want to experience nature in the middle of the city.” The project has been on hold since last year, when the walkway collapsed, dropping workers dozens of feet. One man, Angel Chupin, 66, of Marietta, was killed. Eighteen others were injured, and doctors said it was a near-miracle that none were paralyzed. Here are aerial photos from the walkway collapse.

Hardin Construction Company of Atlanta, Williams Erection Company of Smyrna and Southeast Access of Kennesaw were fined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for their role in the collapse. The AJC reported this summer that the companies appealed those fines.

Still, the Botanical Garden is pushing forward with the project.

A press release from the Atlanta Botanical Garden this week said garden visitors will notice three phases of the walkway’s construction:

  • A temporary steel support system will be erected to support the permanent structure in early October.
  • Concrete will be poured for the walkway in late 2009.
  • Four large masts will be put in place in early 2010. They’ll be attached to steel cables that suspend the Canopy Walk, and will allow the temporary steel supports to be removed.

Want to go? The Atlanta Botanical Garden is open Tuesday-Sunday with seasonal hours. $12-15, free for members and children younger than 3. 1345 Piedmont Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-876-5859,

For instant updates, follow @insideaccess on Twitter.

24 comments Add your comment

The Mudgeon

September 30th, 2009
11:46 am

For ever and a day we’ll have to look at this structure up in the canopy of the trees. Lest we forget what the Indians thought of the forest:

When you enter a grove peopled with ancient trees, higher than
the ordinary, and shutting out the sky with their thickly inter-twined
branches, do not the stately shadows of the wood, the stillness of
the place, and the awful gloom of this doomed cavern then strike
you with the presence of a deity?
- Seneca

It’s hard to imagine what our forebears would think of this monstrosity. Is a skywalk responsible stewardship of this tiny bit of forest?

Eileen Z

September 30th, 2009
11:44 am

Enter your comments here
Come on folks — the Atl Botanical Garden is a cultural icon. It breathes life into Midtown and provides Atlantan’s with yet another great venue to call our own. It’s truly the best use of land I’ve seen in a long time! 30 acres dedicated to education, horticulture, sustainability and sheer beauty — let’s gear our “griping” toward a more warranted cause, shall we?

American Dream

September 30th, 2009
11:38 am

Maybe the gardens can host Wrestlemania now. We could have a skyscraper match between myself, Dusty Rhodes the American Dream and Dirty Dick Slater. This would draw a bog crowd for the gardens.


September 30th, 2009
11:19 am

I guess they made the money to rebuild it by laying off employees there. Nice.


September 30th, 2009
11:18 am

Enter your comments here


September 30th, 2009
11:02 am


the parking deck increased greenspace.

also, it’s a botanical garden, not a forest. would you rather raze all the structures in the garden and piedmont park to return it to the wild?


September 30th, 2009
10:35 am

To that point, the construction team involved partnered with the Botanical Garden and the public to raise those funds that were distributed to the family of the deceased and the injured workers. All of the funds were distributed within two months of the incident.


September 30th, 2009
10:35 am

Enter your comments here
First the parking deck, then the walkway, and now they’ve clearcut trees all the way down to the houses on Monroe Drive….and they call this a “Green Expansion”. What a joke!

Lily P

September 30th, 2009
10:29 am

Eric, that’s not true. The botanical garden raised over $100,000 for the injured workers after the accident and all those monies were distributed to them thorugh United Way.


September 30th, 2009
10:15 am

Glad they can find the money to rebuild it….when none of the companies responsible for the collapse have made any efforts to compensate the family of the dead worker or any of the other injured workers. Truly disgusting.