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

City Parks Highlights America’s New Infrastructure – Resilience

The Historic Fourth Ward Park is one of the many highlights of Astra’s journey! The opportunity we had in the construction of the park was not only significant in what the park represented, but in its impact on the surrounding neighborhoods, the City of Atlanta and the Atlanta BeltLine.

We are extremely proud of the end result! The Park brought us closer and has been a huge player in how we as a community look at being resilient through green infrastructure!

Check out the video below by City Parks Alliance as they take a deeper dive into what The Historic Fourth Ward Park represented for Atlanta. We look forward to continuing partnerships with owners and other organizations as we move toward our “green” future.


Atlanta BeltLine Historic Fourth Ward Park Earns ISI’s Envision® Gold Award

Atlanta’s Historic Fourth Ward Park project recently received the Envision Gold award. A partnership of Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) and the Atlanta Department of Watershed Management (DWM), Historic Fourth Ward Park was one of the first components in the progressing BeltLine Project― a comprehensive effort providing a network of public parks, multi-use trails and transit along a historic 22-mile railroad corridor circling downtown. Historic Fourth Ward Park is the 12th project in North America to receive an ISI Envision rating award.

Direction for this project originated from conversations among citizens discussing local stormwater issues. As part of the development effort, the stormwater management was enhanced, from what was originally a series of underground pipes, into a community amenity. HDR worked closely with ABI, DWM, and the community to design a park that features a stormwater retention pond, while serving multiple purposes for the adjacent neighborhood.

The park, which is designed to provide much needed stormwater drainage relief within a 300-acre drainage basin, uses artistic elements to aerate and recycle pond water in a dramatic contrast to traditional discharge pipes. The stormwater pond serves as the park’s centerpiece, surrounded by walking trails, urban plazas, native plantings and an amphitheater. The project has generated adjacent development and revitalization, providing the cornerstone for a sustainable, high-density and high-quality urban transformation along with an outstanding design solution for a combined sewer overflow problem.

“Envision is beginning to influence projects in just the way that the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure hoped,” said HDR Sustainability Director, Michaella Wittmann, LEED Fellow, ENV SP. “The Fourth Ward Park project started as a typical stormwater management/flooding problem, and turned into a solution that addressed the problem and resulted in economic and community development, environmental restoration and creation of a park. We’re proud that this project could meet high standards of sustainability while also improving community livability in Atlanta.”

Historic Fourth Ward Park has been a catalyst for development to be enjoyed by the residents of Atlanta for years to come. “We are very pleased that Historic Fourth Ward Park has received this recognition from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure,” stated Paul F. Morris, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. president and CEO. “This transformative and innovative project has completely revitalized this community and it could not have happened without the support and partnership of Mayor Kasim Reed, the City of Atlanta Watershed Management and HDR, making the vision into reality.”

“The Historic Fourth Ward Park project was recognized with an Envision Gold award for meeting multiple Envision criteria, including its contributions to the quality of life as part of the Atlanta BeltLine, and significant stakeholder involvement. Plus the idea originated with local citizens,” said ISI President and CEO Bill Bertera. “Resource conservation was designed into the project, including supplying 100 percent of the irrigation demand from the pond. The need for irrigation is also greatly reduced through the use of native plant materials,” said Bertera. “The pond’s capacity provides relief to the combined sewer, allowing the system to manage a rain event in excess of a 100-year storm.”

The Envision rating system categories with the highest scores for the Historic Fourth Ward Park project include:

Quality of Life (QL): Historic Fourth Ward Park restored an unusable parcel into a functional community park and provided stimulus for neighboring development. Following project completion, the influx of housing and retail has noticeably changed the economic and social condition of the community. Perhaps most notably is the benefit the project had to City Hall East (formerly the historic Sears, Roebuck & Co. building), an iconic building in Atlanta that had become dilapidated due to frequent flooding. Not only did the design of Historic Fourth Ward Park preserve views to this landmark, but also mitigated the flooding that had prevented its restoration. It has since been reborn as Ponce City Market, restoring its prominence as a vital landmark in Atlanta’s burgeoning Old Fourth Ward.

“While pushing the boundaries of traditional design, Historic Fourth Ward Park unifies the vision of Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., local residents, designers and city officials to provide a lasting legacy for an iconic neighborhood,” said HDR Project Manager Robert Bryant. “From the early stages of the project, collaboration on every level inspired the creation of a park that now provides a sustainable resource, spurs development and solves an engineering problem. It’s only fitting that the project scored highest in Envision’s Quality of Life category, demonstrating how visionary thinking can contribute to the physical, social and economic wellbeing of the community.”

Leadership:  ABI, The City of Atlanta and HDR, as the core team members, are all committed to improving sustainable performance. The project team deliberately took into account the relationships to and among other elements of community infrastructure, including physical and visual connectivity to adjacent properties. As part of the Atlanta BeltLine, the project adheres to its strategic principles, including “Emphasize the Multiple Connections of People and Places.” This principle was evident throughout the project planning and implementation.

“The Pond at Historic Fourth Ward Park represents the new approach the Department of Watershed Management is taking to maximize our infrastructure investments for environmental, economic and social sustainability,” said Jo Ann Macrina, Commissioner, City of Atlanta, Department of Watershed Management. “Instead of burying pipes and vaults underground, this engineered capacity-relief facility has become the centerpiece of a beautiful park. The success of this project sets the stage for green infrastructure projects in progress across our city.”

Resource Allocation (RA): The development of Historic Fourth Ward Park has created a positive impact to the quantity of stormwater runoff that is captured on site. Pre-development conditions allowed storm drainage from the connected watershed to discharge directly into the combined sewer. The park now captures and contains stormwater following rain events, and the water has been used to establish newly planted landscape – introducing biodiversity to the area.