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Clifton Streetscape Project: Nearing the finish line!

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Holly Korschun

The Clifton Streetscape project that began in early June of 2016 is nearing completion. The past 15 months have seen dramatic changes improving access, pedestrian safety and aesthetics. The project also addressed longstanding roadway issues on Clifton Road from North Decatur Road up to the Haygood Drive and Eagle Row intersection. Construction officially began on June 6, 2016.  The final paving operations took place in mid-July 2017 when Gambrell Drive was resurfaced. In addition to meeting these goals, the project had to coordinate closely with the ongoing construction of the Emory University Hospital Tower project.

The Clifton Streetscape project focused on several key issues.  The roadway was badly in need of repair and repaving.  It also needed to be widened so that travel lanes met current codes.  A right hand turn lane was constructed at the intersection of Clifton Road and North Decatur Road.  A new entrance to the campus was constructed at Healthgate Drive.

The project also addressed pedestrian safety.  New and wider sidewalks were put in place along Clifton Road.  Where once pedestrians had to walk immediately adjacent to traffic, they are now separated by a five-foot planted strip. Trees line both sides of the road, and three planted medians give the landscape a consistent appearance.  Clifton Road is also now well-lit by modern LED lighting systems.

Other key elements of the project included four distinctive concrete intersections and crosswalks. The intent was to better alert motorists about these major pedestrian crossing points along Clifton Road. The change in materials from the asphalt roadway surface to concrete provides a better visual que to motorist about these crosswalks. A green- colored, dedicated bike lane was included on the east side of Clifton Road.  A separate bike lane was also constructed from Eagle Row to Woodruff Circle. This route allows bicyclists an option of staying off Clifton Road to reach their destination on campus or beyond.   

Items that remain include a portion of the street striping and the material to complete the distinctive intersections. A portion of this work had to be delayed until the new driving surfaces had cured properly. Some of the gaps are results of working around the Hospital Tower project.  The Clifton Streetscape project has carefully coordinated construction activities over the duration of the project to ensure this work did not interfere or delay the completion of the Hospital Tower.  This is still a guiding principle as the team wrap ups the remaining work.

Clifton Streetscape Facts:

  • 8,000 SF of sidewalks added to create a safer, wider walking surface for pedestrians.
  • Nearly 4 million pounds of stone base course used to correct failed sections of roadway.
  • 1,700 tons of asphalt milled and recycled.
  • 1,700 tons of asphalt paving used to resurface the roads.
  • 25,000 SF of new roadway surface constructed, including a right turn lane at North Decatur Road, wider travel lanes and Healthgate Drive.
  • Over 1,000 cubic yards of concrete poured for four concrete intersections, new curb and gutter and new sidewalks.
  • 4,000 linear feet of new curb and gutter added along the entire corridor.
  • Size of travel lanes on Clifton Road increased to comply with Department of Transportation standards. 
  • Dedicated bicycle lane constructed on east side of Clifton Road. 
  • Dedicated off-road bicycle lane constructed from Eagle Row to Woodruff Circle.
  • 113 large street trees planted along Clifton Road. 
  • Three planted medians constructed in Clifton Road.
  • 70 new LED street lights installed to replace outdated systems on wooden utility poles.
  • Overhead electrical distribution systems, phone and cable TV systems removed along with wooden utility poles and replaced with underground systems, reducing visual clutter along this section of Clifton Road.

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