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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,

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24 comments Add your comment


September 30th, 2009
2:15 pm

Are you kidding me? $100,000 split between 19 people is just over $5,000 each. I don’t think the wife and children of the dead worker or the other severally injured workers would trade their husband or father for $5,000…or for a few Christmas presents!! Ms. Gumbrecht, follow up this story with questions to the contractors responsible as to what they, or their insurance companies, have done to compenstate the family of the dead worker, or any of the other injured workers.


September 30th, 2009
1:54 pm

Well-said. Now if the less articulate nut cases will vacate this site…….

September 30th, 2009
1:44 pm

I think this walkway is a wonderful idea; the garden teaches both preservation and appreciation to visitors. This walkway will be an unobtrusive investment to accomplish those purposes. National Geographic just named Atlanta one of the world’s top 50 places to visit because of its trees. We have many beautiful trees and a walkway to help people appreciate this beautiful natural asset I would think should be embraced.


September 30th, 2009
1:12 pm

what if you sent a check and stopped whining yourself?

Thank You ABC!!

September 30th, 2009
1:06 pm

Naysayers step aside – the gears of capitalism have always been greased with the blood of the workers. I’m sure $100,000 was WAY more than enough to pay the medical bills and emergency services provided the day of the collapse. Now get out of the way whiners, we’ve got a walkway in the trees to build!!


September 30th, 2009
1:04 pm

Google has a great satellite view of the area. Maybe you should take a look. My god, I believe there really are some trees in the area. What you talkin bout, Willis?


September 30th, 2009
1:02 pm

Adam you can’t be serious… they tore down all those old trees to make room for a garden? We lose hundreds of trees everyday in this city. I would expect the Botanical Gardens to be in the business of protecting them, not removing them to make way for… what?


September 30th, 2009
12:58 pm

i was once against the parking deck, but after visiting the gardens, i’m truly glad they built it.

i do hope there is a way from the deck onto Monroe though. that entrance on Piedmont is a nightmare at times. it would be best to give people an option to accessing the deck. the ffolkes on Park Dr. can’t really complain about park traffic since that’s been an entrance to the park for ages. don’t move there if you are bothered by cars coming and going to the huge park you chose to buy a home next to…

the new entrance from the deck into the garden is well designed. you walk up nice wide paths thru some “new” areas of the garden and pop out into the “old” garden, it was a great plan.

the skywalk will be a nice addition. just like they put boardwalks over fragile dunes and swamps (instead of having people tromp thru them), this skywalk will pass over the areas, leaving the underneath part undisturbed. it will be a great feeling to get the view from the treetops.

“clearcut the trees to Monroe”?? that’s a bit of a stretch. are you missing the cruising scene of the old woods? i’d rather seem some planned garden development than the weeds that are currenly part of that further back corner between the water treatment plant, Monroe, and Piedmont. Although the skaters sure will miss access to that awesome drainage ditch we used to skate back there.

Atlanta Local – born & bred

the naysayers should go visit before spouting off, i think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.


September 30th, 2009
12:45 pm


My point is that it’s silly and wasteful to eliminate what little forest we have left in the city in order to build a garden. But if they wanted to expand the garden, they should have converted some of the park land already cleared….say, move some playground equipment or use the back of the big concert lawn. It may not have been as convenient, but would have been more in the spirit of “green expansion” and forest preservation.

what about it

September 30th, 2009
12:21 pm

Eric, Why don’t you get the facts before you enter a comment? Hardin construction made sure those families had Christmas presents and did not lack for food or shelter. They help create the fund and made a very sizable donation. I am also sure the company’s insurance companies have ponied up to the families also. Good things get done, but get no press.