A Buckhead apartment tower developer has been fined more than $351,000 by the state for illegally blocking Peachtree Road with a broken-down crane in a notorious December incident.
The Georgia Department of Transportation also revoked construction permits related to the use of Peachtree Road for the project, the Sutton tower going up at 2695 Peachtree. The fine has not yet been paid, according to GDOT spokesperson Natalie Dale.
GDOT issued the fine and permit revocation in a Dec. 20 letter to Peachtree LLC, which is the project-specific company through which developer Preserve Properties is building the Sutton. Preserve Properties did not immediately respond to a comment request.
The Sutton project is just south of the Pharr Road intersection, where another apartment tower, Mill Creek’s Modera Buckhead, is also under construction. The combo projects have drawn complaints from residents in recent months for frequent lane closures without flaggers or useful signage. The crane breakdown was far worse, blocking northbound lanes and tying up traffic on one of Atlanta’s busiest streets for roughly five days until it was finally removed Dec. 19.
Peachtree doubles as a state route and is controlled by GDOT, which issues permits for construction work done in the street. GDOT says that Sutton’s construction contractor, Gilbane Building Company, had proper permits for intermittent lane closures, but not for long-term blockages like the crane set-up. Gilbane previously said it relied on a traffic management subcontractor, Southern Protection Agency, whom it believed got proper permits.
“Such action constituted an illegal trespass on the department’s property and caused significant damage and road user costs to the department and the traveling public,” said GDOT’s Dec. 20 letter to the developer, which was signed by Matthew Cline, the agency’s top attorney.
GDOT calculated the costs and damages at $351,464. Dale, the GDOT spokesperson, previously said the agency uses a formula for estimating the economic impact of road closures, with a standard value of $17.91 per hour for each passenger vehicle that is delayed.
GDOT’s letter also announced an immediate revocation of a driveway permit for the project and a 30-day notice for revoking another that allowed use of Peachtree lanes for construction activities. The letter also served notice that GDOT “intends to pursue any and all available remedies at law, equity and under the permit” for any problems related to the road-blocking crane.
Update: This story has been updated with further comment from GDOT about the status of the fine.