The bridge, built in the 1920s before automobile traffic was the norm, is a marvel of engineering from that era. It has born the weight of vehicles for which it was not designed and has endured that burden well for most of its life due to its solid construction. Recently, however, load tests revealed that vehicles weighing in excess of four tons threaten the integrity of the bridge and thus its safety.
A retrofit is proposed to increase the bridge’s load-bearing capacity while maintaining the historical character of the bridge.
“It was a purposeful decision by the board to seek a solution that was in keeping with the historical character of the Druid Hills neighborhood,” said Trace Haythorn, executive director of The Frazer Center.
This solution will allow the center to redirect most of the large vehicles that currently access the center through the residential streets of Lake Claire to the entrance on South Ponce de Leon Avenue.
The Frazer Center’s 39-acre campus, which includes the Frazer Forest and the Cator Woolford Gardens, is open and accessible to the public on a daily basis. Members of the surrounding community often enjoy the center’s grounds as though it were a public park: walking and biking on the various trails, picnicking in the gardens and holding neighborhood meetings.
“We are so fortunate to live near a place which benefits our neighborhood through wise stewardship of its campus and its 39-acre, old-growth forest and public gardens,” said Dan White, long-time resident of Lake Claire. “I call it the ‘lungs of Lake Claire.’”
The anonymous donor, described as a life-long friend of the center, pledged the generous gift with the hope that members of the surrounding neighborhoods, namely Lake Claire, Druid Hills and Candler Park, would be inspired to help the center raise the additional $50,000 needed to complete the project.
“We know this is a substantial goal,” said Eric Schroeder, Lake Claire resident and newly-elected chair of the board of directors of The Frazer Center. “But we see this as more than just the repair of a bridge. It is about improving the quality of life throughout the neighborhood. The investment of our neighbors in this project will keep this center accessible to children and adults with developmental disabilities.”
“We have already received almost $9,000 in gifts and pledges towards this effort. We have every expectation that we will meet our goal before the summer ends,” Trace Haythorn said.
Haythorn explained the center has hired UrbanEco to complete the design along with Eberly & Associates for the engineering of the project.
“The preliminary drawings and project design will leave the exterior of the bridge looking almost exactly as it has for the past century, but the structure will be reinforced in a way that will provide safe access to the center for generations to come,” said Haythorn.
Final plans for the bridge design will be posted on the center’s website when they are complete.