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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, www.atlantabotanicalgarden.org.

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24 comments Add your comment

Eric

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.

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.

Chuck

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!

Sam

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.

adam

September 30th, 2009
11:02 am

chuck,

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?

molly

September 30th, 2009
11:18 am

Enter your comments here

molly

September 30th, 2009
11:19 am

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

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.

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?

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?

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.

Chuck

September 30th, 2009
12:45 pm

Adam

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.

downsouth

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.

Marcos

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?

RK

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?

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!!

RK

September 30th, 2009
1:12 pm

what if you sent a check and stopped whining yourself?

Mapyeti.com

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.

RK

September 30th, 2009
1:54 pm

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

Eric

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.

Daisy

September 30th, 2009
4:27 pm

I think the treewalk is amazing! I can’t wait until it is finished and I am going to take all my out of town guests to the Botanical Garden to see this unique feature that my city has to offer. I am a travel agent and I send many people all the way to Costa Rica to see similar treewalks. So I am glad I can tell people they can just come to Atlanta now!

Also, I think people are getting Piedmont Park projects cunfused with the Botanical Garden projects. They are not the same. I believe that it is Piedmont Park that is expanding all the way down to Piedmont and Monroe, not the Botanical Garden. I’m pretty sure they are run by different people.

ginak

September 30th, 2009
4:41 pm

I’m sure no one would suggest that any amount of money would compensate for loss of life. Worker’s comp is designed to cover medical expenses and provide some wage benefits. I think it was a caring gesture to raise funds and may even have helped the families cope financially until insurance kicked in. We know how long it can take for those checks to arrive.

Bill

October 1st, 2009
10:49 am

Who was Managing this project anyway?? Were they fined as well? Everyone wants to shirk responsibility!

[...] on hold after part of collapsed in December 2008. One man was killed and 18 others were injured. Construction resumed in [...]