After a combination of age and lack of maintenance, a large remaining block of that parking lot and adjacent road network literally built over the river, has become structurally unstable. Signs pointing to the structure’s ultimate failure date has far back as 2002, when engineering consultants told city officials that action should be taken to prevent further deterioration of pilings and concrete beams under the Northbank Riverwalk.
In December 2006, consultant’s fears were realized when a section of the Northbank Riverwalk and Coastline Drive collapsed. A second collapse came in 2012 and a third in early 2015 when a section of Liberty Street collapsed into the river, leaving homeowners in the adjacent Berkman townhomes without power. At the time, Lenny Curry mentioned the collapse showed the neglect the city has faced over the years.
Now Curry’s administration is moving forward with a unique permanent solution. Next week, a $31 million project to remove the parking lot and remake parts of Coastline Drive, Liberty and Market Streets will begin.
Instead of spending millions to repair a riverfront surface parking lot, the city will spend millions to beautify and expose a section of the river that has been hidden from public view for six decades.
Coastline Drive will be rebuilt between Newnan and Market Streets as a 30-foot wide roadway with a 28-foot wide riverwalk and six-foot wide sidewalk. Coastline Drive will be removed east of Market Street.