Georgia’s 1st EMAS system in place at PDK Airport

[WOODSTOCK, GA, December 19, 2018—] Astra Grading & Pipe, LLC, completed construction of the very first Engineered Materials Arrestor System (EMAS) at DeKalb Peachtree Airport (PDK) in Atlanta this week. 

The $5.6 million EMAS project at Runway 21L provides safety for aircraft & public. The system is comprised of specialized blocks that collapse under the weight of an aircraft, which stops by digging into the blocks without damaging the aircraft and preventing it from leaving airport property.

“Great job! The entire team has put an enormous amount of effort into making this project successful,” said Andrew Lindsay, President of Astra Grading & Pipe. “It is one you all should be very proud of.”

The project site features variable height Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) wall from zero to 30 feet high and 5,200 square yards of grooved asphalt that is designed as a warning track from the end of the runway to the blocks.

Four Astra crews worked 24/7 for 30 days tomove 50,000 cubic yards of dirt to complete the project before the Christmasholidays. As part of the overall scope, Astra also relocated an existing localizer and installed a new electrical shelter.

“Great job team!” said Theresa Rivera, Astra project manager. “We wouldn’t have gotten this done before Christmas without all the hours spent by our crews in the field (and there were definitely a lot of hours put in!)

“Special shout out to Darrin [Johnson] (site superintendent) & David [Torres] (site foreman) for sticking with it the past year and a half! We’ve definitely encountered some unique challenges on this one,” Rivera said. 

Kudos to the entire project team as well as DeKalb County, Georgia Department of Transportation, Baker International, Aulick Engineering & the Federal Aviation Administration.

Astra Group, Inc., is a leader in Southeast in the delivery of general contracting and job order contracting to private, commercial, government and municipal entities. We operate from our headquarters in Woodstock with other offices in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, and Tampa, Florida, employing more than 160 people with revenues of more than $100 million. We are comprised of three divisions – Astra Group, Inc., Astra Grading and Pipe, LLC, and Astra Construction Services, LLC.


If you would like more information about Astra Group, Inc., please call Regina Pitts at (770) 992-9300, or email

Astra’s Port IMMC job featured in Construction Equipment Guide

Savannah Mason Mega Rail Terminal Work Proceeds


Work is well underway on a 20-month contract to build the infrastructure for a railroad project in Savannah that will make it the largest on-deck intermodal rail facility for a port authority in North America. 

The Mason Mega Rail Terminal is the next step in the Port of Savannah’s drive to handle more cargo from Neo-Panamax vessels. It is part of a comprehensive expansion plan that includes a deeper harbor, the largest ship-to-shore crane fleet in North America, adding 60 rubber-tired Gantry yard cranes and expanding truck gates.

General contractor Astra Group Inc., of Woodstock, Ga., won the $34.6 million contract for infrastructure improvements with work starting this past January and set for completion the summer of 2019.

Those improvements include ground improvements, clearing, grubbing, excavation of wetlands, dynamic compaction and imported fill. Continue reading “Astra’s Port IMMC job featured in Construction Equipment Guide”

Astra Attends Georgia Ports Authority Groundbreaking

Mega Rail Groundbreaking

[WOODSTOCK, GA, March 23, 2018—] Astra Group, Inc., team members were on site for Georgia Port Authority’s (GPA) Mason Mega Rail Groundbreaking Ceremony on Tuesday, March 27th at the Garden City Terminal. Attendees were greeted by Griff Lynch, Executive Director, and Jimmy Allgood, Board Chairman, as well as other members of the GPA Leadership Team, GPA Board Members, Mayors from Garden City and Savannah, and staff from Norfolk Southern and CSX.

“We have formed a great partnership with Georgia Ports Authority and look forward to delivering a successful project that affects not only the local economy, but also enhances the Port of Savannah which is an economic engine for the State of Georgia,” said Andrew Lindsay, President of Astra Group, Inc.

In January, Astra received its Notice to Proceed for the civil infrastructure portion of the $128 million rail expansion for the Port of Savannah’s International Multi-Modal Connector (IMMC) project at the Garden City Terminal in Garden City, Ga. This $35 million civil infrastructure project consists of providing soil improvements, earthwork, drainage and erosion control within and adjacent to the James D. Mason Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF), the realignment of a portion of Pipemakers Canal, installation of two (2) structures across the realigned canal to accommodate future rail tracks, and the installation of a bridge across the canal for maintenance. Part of the project is funded by FASTLANE, a federal grant program, that requires expedited delivery of infrastructure projects to support the growth of the economy and encourages use of American products.

The two (2) rail bridges across Pipemakers Canal will ultimately connect the Chatham and Mason rail yards, operated by CSX and Norfolk Southern railroads. This Mega Rail project will allow 10,000-foot trains to be loaded on terminal with containers double-stacked. The trains will increase the capacity from 500,000 container lifts per year to 1 million when the project is finished.

“The Mason Mega Rail project will expand rail capacity by 100 percent while reducing impact on the local community and throughout the supply chain,” said Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Griff Lynch.

The entire project is estimated for completion by the end of 2020.

“This project is a game changer,” said GPA Board Chairman Jimmy Allgood. “Our team estimates the Mason Mega Rail Terminal will slash rail time to the Midwest by a good 24 hours, and present a viable new option for many manufacturers, shippers and logistics professionals.”

Allgood said unit trains make direct routes to distant markets more profitable for the railroads, which is a major factor in how the new capabilities of the Mason Mega Rail terminal will improve Savannah’s reach.

Astra Group, Inc., is a leader in Southeast in the delivery of general contracting and job order contracting to private, commercial, government and municipal entities. We operate from our headquarters in Woodstock with other offices in Atlanta, Georgia, and Tampa, Florida, employing more than 140 people with revenues of more than $100 million. We are comprised of three divisions – Astra Group, Inc., Astra Grading and Pipe, LLC, and Astra Construction Services, LLC.

Find print-quality images of port operations here. Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 439,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $25 billion in income, $106 billion in revenue and $2.9 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. The Port of Savannah handled 8.5 percent of U.S. containerized cargo volume and 10 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in FY2017


If you would like more information about Astra Group, Inc., please call Regina Pitts at (770) 992-9300, or email

If you would like more information about the Georgia Port Authority, visit, or contact GPA Senior Director of Corporate Communications Robert Morris at (912) 964-3855, or email

Astra Group Improves Public Safety With Atlanta’s Northside Drive Project

In a tight urban corridor in Atlanta’s booming Buckhead area, Astra Group is putting in large water lines and removing the existing reversible lanes.

“The project is being built to remove to improve safety along the heavily travelled corridor and to replace outdated waterlines,” says Annalysce Baker, Communications Officer with the Georgia Department of Transportation in Chamblee.

The Northside Drive project entails removing the existing reversible lane from the Interstate 75 interchange to Collier Road and creating an additional southbound lane, Baker explains. A two-way left turn lane will replace the reversible lane from Collier Road to the end of the project limits. Signal upgrades and intersection improvements will take place at the Collier Road, Woodward Way, Peachtree Battle Avenue, West Wesley and Arden Road intersections. The project also will include a new covered boardwalk to a tennis center.

Astra Group of Woodstock, Georgia, serves as the prime contractor and began the $25 million project in January 2014. Most of the work has taken place during weekday hours to reduce disruption of to residents living in the area. But that meant lane closures.

“This was a complicated infrastructure project,” says Andrew Lindsay, President of Astra Group. “It’s in an extremely tight urban traffic corridor.”

Replacing the Water Line

A major portion of the work entails waterline replacements for the city of Atlanta, including replacing a 20-inch diameter transmission main water line with a 36-inch diameter ductal iron pipe. It also adds a 12-inch distribution water main. Atlanta is funding the water line portion of the project.

“With the growth of the Buckhead area of Atlanta, with all of the towers going up, high density and urban environments, there needed to be a greater volume of water,” Lindsay says.

The water line work was combined with needed road work to minimize disruption to the traveling public.

Astra Group found a massive amount of utilities in the 3-mile long corridor, many unexpected. 

“We worked together with Georgia DOT and the city of Atlanta on a solution, which ultimately was moving the 36-inch water main to the opposite side of the road,” Lindsay recalls. “We were proud we were part of the solution and not part of the problem. We came together as a team.”

 The team discussed multiple alternatives, including making the road one way for a year, and determined moving the main was the best option. The main moved from west to east for most of the 3-mile project to avoid communication utilities. 

Installing the line required trenching with Komatsu 308 excavators, which have a zero tail swing. Everything is contained within the tracks, so the back of the machine does not swing into traffic, Lindsay explains.

“If it wasn’t such tight quarters, we would be using larger machines,” he says.

 Crews also ran into rock, which required blasting. Lindsay credits developing a good plan with allowing the company to complete the water line work in 12 months, rather than the allotted 18 months.

At some of the intersections, crews bored under the road to avoid disrupting traffic.

Astra Group also is improving the storm drainage in the corridor, installing reinforced concrete pipe, and adding fire hydrants.

Removing the Reversal Lanes

The department decided to eliminate the reversible lanes and create a left-turn lane, which can be used by both north and southbound traffic. There is only space for the three lanes. Widening the road was not an option. The DOT needed to improve the intersections, signalization, repave with asphalt, put in curbs and deal with stormwater issues, so water drained off the road. Astra Group will restripe it to make it clear they are turn lanes.

Crews removed all signage for the reversible lanes at the start of the job, to help drivers become aware that the reversible lanes no longer exist.

Astra Group has installed 14,000 linear feet of granite curb and has dropped in curb inlets to create American Disabilities Act-complaint wheelchair ramps. Sidewalks have been extended to Peachtree Creek. Because the project runs along the side of a golf course, the company has installed netting to catch any stray balls and an elevated boardwalk with a 10-foot path.

“There are a number of different elements,” Lindsay says.  

The project is more than 80 percent complete and remains on time for a fall 2017 finish. 

“This is a unique infrastructure improvement in an urban area and that’s what we are known for,” Lindsay says.

Lindsay and his father, Ian Lindsay, formed Astra Group in 1994. The family business employs more than 100 people. The company provides general contracting services to governments throughout the southeast. It specializes in infrastructure, athletic facilities, parks and municipal buildings. Astra Grading and Pipe does site development, grading and installing water, sewer and storm pipe.

Upcoming Work

The 5-mile Northside Drive Corridor Improvement Study, from Interstate 20 to Interstate 75 is currently in the planning and study phase by GDOT. Northside Drive is used to move freight and commuters. Traffic volume has increased as the area has embraced higher density projects.

GDOT wants to improve traffic flow and create a safer environment for pedestrians and bicyclists, support redevelopment in the area and preserve the community’s character. Potential improvements could include a combination of reconstructed intersections, upgraded sidewalks and bicycle facilities, and additional lanes in certain areas to help with traffic flow.

The department has held multiple Citizen Advisory Committee meetings with representatives from the businesses, communities and public agencies along the corridor. GDOT also has completed an environmental assessment and traffic and safety analysis. The traffic analysis found that incidents along the corridor increased by 52 percent in the past two years.  It plans to make final recommendations this fall. 

Reported by Dixie Conttractor at

Special Edition of AJC’s Living Intown Magazine

In September 2015, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution released its monthly Living Intown Magazine with a special twist: an exclusive look at every aspect of the Atlanta BeltLine. Touted as the “guide to spectacular sights and secret finds,” this 164-page collector’s edition magazine is worthy of gracing the coffee table of any Atlanta BeltLine fan.

Below, you will find an intro and a link to each of the in-depth articles.

Before the BeltLine

A century ago, multiple railroad segments laid the groundwork for the BeltLine’s future loop…

Lofts at Reynoldstown Crossing in 1985. Photo credit: AJC.
Lofts at Reynoldstown Crossing in 1985. Photo credit: AJC.

BeltLine people: Angel Poventud

A freight train engineer by day, community activist Angel Poventud has been a champion of the BeltLine for more than a decade…

Building the BeltLine

The decades-spanning construction project digs up surprises while reshaping the city. Workers building the Atlanta BeltLine never know what they will dig up next, which has led to a joke around the office…

Tunnel under Lee Street and Murphy Avenue. Photo by Jenni Girtman.
Tunnel under Lee Street and Murphy Avenue. Photo credit: Jenni Girtman.

BeltLine People: Andrew Lindsay

Andrew Lindsay, a native of Brookhaven and president of Astra Group (a construction company that specializes in public spaces and parks), was awarded the bid to build the BeltLine’s Eastside and Westside trails, as well as Historic Fourth Ward Park…

Birth of the BeltLine

How a former Georgia Tech student’s vision for unused Atlanta rail is shaping the city’s destiny. Many graduate theses and dissertations propose brilliant ideas and are never heard of again…

BeltLine 101: An Atlanta BeltLine user’s guide

How to hit the trails without being thrown for a loop. So let’s check out the BeltLine. I hope you’re wearing comfortable shoes. Would you like to borrow some sunscreen?…

Eastside Trail from Virginia Avenue bridge. Photo by Jenni Girtman.
Eastside Trail from Virginia Avenue bridge. Photo credit: Jenni Girtman.

The seven essentials of the Atlanta BeltLine

The city-spanning project’s seven must-see attractions — for now. Visiting the Atlanta BeltLine is often more about the journey than the destination. The cool features and engaging sights along the trails don’t necessarily equal the simple experience of being on it, whether afoot or on wheels, walking alone or marching in a parade…

The draw of the BeltLine

The Atlanta BeltLine has an allure for homebuyers, but getting in isn’t always easy. Brent and Michelle Potter had been renting a home near downtown Decatur for years when signs — little omens, maybe — started pointing them to Adair Park, a historic but under-the-radar neighborhood that abuts the BeltLine’s Westside Trail, a few minutes south of downtown…

BeltLine people: Donell and Evonne Woodson

Donell and Evonne Woodson — an urban community developer and an Emory University scientist, respectively — moved to an Atlanta BeltLine-adjacent Craftsman-style house in the Old Fourth Ward in 2013…

Eastside Trail with wildflowers and townhomes. Photo by Jenni Girtman.
Eastside Trail with wildflowers and townhomes. Photo credit: Jenni Girtman.

Business on the BeltLine

Foot traffic drives commerce to restaurants and other BeltLine-based companies. Early one warm spring evening, chef Kevin Rathbun is kicking back, sipping a gin and soda on the appropriately named BeltLine Patio at his swankiest restaurant, Kevin Rathbun Steak…

Commerce on the Atlanta BeltLine

To watch this video piece, click here.

BeltLine people: Steven Carse

Not far from the Inman Park entrance to the BeltLine is the headquarters of King of Pops, the beloved Atlanta Popsicle cart company that sells imaginative flavors like chocolate sea salt, banana pudding and blackberry ginger lemonade…

Taking root on the BeltLine

Landscape architects choose hardy plants to soften the view in the former rail corridor. Just as the Atlanta BeltLine itself is a work in progress, so too is the landscaping that accompanies it. The trees, shrubs, flowers and assorted greenery are in continual flux, which means a bike ride along the Westside or a jog across the northern edge of the trail may offer new vistas every few weeks…

The Urban Farm on Allene Avenue when it was under construction. Photo credit: Jenni Girtman.
The Urban Farm on Allene Avenue when it was under construction. Photo credit: Jenni Girtman.

BeltLine people: Courtney Ebert and Bert

Marketing manager Courtney Ebert, 27, and Bert, her 8-year-old Jack Russell terrier, are regular walkers of the Atlanta BeltLine Northside trail…

Fitness on the BeltLine

Training for a marathonreveals a wealth of BeltLine exercise options to one runner. The daunting task of marathon training, at least for me, requires dangling carrots — especially on longer runs…

Fitness on the Atlanta BeltLine

To watch this video piece, click here.

BeltLine people:Stephen Smith

Personal trainer Stephen Smith’s Viva Fitness studio sits just a step from the Atlanta BeltLine on Ponce de Leon Place in Virginia-Highland…

Bike riders pass over North Avenue bridge on the Eastside Trail. Photo credit: Jenni Girtman.
Bike riders pass over North Avenue bridge on the Eastside Trail. Photo credit: Jenni Girtman.

Art and the BeltLine

Like an al fresco gallery, the Atlanta BeltLine provides a canvas for up-and-coming and established artists. Artist Kyle Brooks, also known as BlackCatTips, has been showing his work publicly since 2010…

Atlanta BeltLine Along the Way

To watch this video piece, click here.

BeltLine people: Molly Rose Freeman

After arriving in Atlanta in 2013, artist Molly Rose Freeman proceeded to quickly inject herself into the city’s arts community, creating such work as the Atlanta BeltLine mural “The Pigeon.” You can see her creations around the city thanks to Living Walls, and she has had several exhibitions as part of her Creatives Project residency and through galleries in town…

Whirling Wheels by Alex Rodriguez is nestled in the meadow along the Eastside Trail. Photo credit: Jenni Girtman.
Whirling Wheels by Alex Rodriguez is nestled in the meadow along the Eastside Trail. Photo credit: Jenni Girtman.

Events on the BeltLine

The Art on the BeltLine Lantern Parade lights up the night. “To work is human, to play is divine.” So goes the motto of the Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons, a group of like-minded people from the Atlanta area that has staged such whimsical events as the Gnome March of the Inman Park Parade and the Gingerbread Trailer Park…

Meet me on the BeltLine

The Atlanta BeltLine is more than just a place to stroll or have a snack. Special events this fall give people opportunities to experience the trails in more active ways…

Photo of the 2014 Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade. Photo credit: AJC.
Photo of the 2014 Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade. Photo credit: AJC.

Links along the BeltLine

Stitching together a patchwork of dozens of neighborhoods. Since its inception, the lore of the Atlanta BeltLine has held that its trails and transit will connect 45 neighborhoods and more than 100,000 people. But that may not be entirely accurate…

BeltLine People: Sundiata Rush

Almost as soon as he took a tour of the Atlanta BeltLine in 2007, Sundiata Rush volunteered for the organization, and became a tour guide himself in 2010. Rush works in brand strategy and market implementation by day and has been leading up to four bus tours a month for the past five years…

The future of the BeltLine

Click the link above to see a multi-page infographic!