CAT’s Joe Murray Rivers, Jr. Intermodal Transit Center Opens

City, county, and CAT officials, with others, cut the ribbon to the Joe Murray Rivers, Jr. Intermodal Transit Center
City, county, and CAT officials, with others, cut the ribbon to the Joe Murray Rivers, Jr. Intermodal Transit Center

CAT’s downtown Joe Murray Rivers, Jr. Intermodal Transit Center held a ribbon cutting on Friday, October 4, 2013. The new CAT intermodal facility, located at 610 West Oglethorpe Avenue at the western perimeter of the Downtown Historic District, will serve Savannah bus patrons as a new transfer point between routes. The passenger transfer platform will accommodate fourteen CAT buses simultaneously. In addition, four bays, located separately from the CAT platform, will be provided for Greyhound passengers. CAT and Greyhound will share the lobby, but each will have its own ticket counter and administrative support areas.

Cogdell & Mendrala, in association with Wendel Duchscherer, worked closely with CAT in evaluating 20 Savannah sites. Sean Beachy, Wendel‘s project lead and specialist in transportation planning, commented, “We considered a number of criteria, including site sizes, traffic patterns, historic district compatibility and -most important convenience for CAT customers. The Oglethorpe site was the ultimate winner.”

Chadwick Reese, Executive Director for the Chatham Area Transit Authority, remarked that, “the CAT project represents a strong and immediate commitment to efficient transportation. Its design will encourage increased ground transit use. Equally important, it will establish another anchor in Savannah’s urban fabric, setting an important standard for future development on adjacent properties and promoting integration with nearby university development.”

As required by SHPO, the State Historic Preservation Office, the light colored brick exterior and exposed concrete structure of the original 1964 structure, designed by Greer, Holquist & Chambers, will be retained. In discussing local interest in the building’s historic value, Barbara Cogdell explained that “early in the design process, our team consulted frequently with Savannah’s MPC Historic Preservation Officer as well as with members of Historic Savannah

Joe Murray Rivers, Jr.
Joe Murray Rivers, Jr.
to ensure that the integrity of the original Greyhound terminal building will be maintained.”

Don Cogdell, lead designer for Cogdell & Mendrala, smiled broadly. “We were ecstatic about the Transit Authority’s interest in creating a new entry marker to Savannah, which will be visible when crossing the Talmadge Bridge from South Carolina.” He added, “as you are driving along Oglethorpe, the dramatic sculptural canopy, inspired by the neoclassical forms of several buildings situated along the western Oglethorpe corridor, will present a highly recognizable and iconic image for Savannah.” At night the CAT platform canopy will be illuminated by energy efficient LED accent lighting capable of changing colors. Cogdell continued “it will be possible to create special seasonal lighting – say red for Valentine’s Day or green for St. Patrick’s Day.”

The ability to maintain Greyhound’s operation 24/7/365 throughout the entire construction process was another key criteria. “We’re thrilled to be a part of this flagship project” stated David Scheele, Vice President for Elkins Constructors, General Contractor for the construction. “ Schedule and phasing are important components of this project. Our construction schedule recognizes and responds to the phasing requirement, thus avoiding delays and disruption of service. Marty Harrell, Director of Interior Design for Cogdell &Mendrala talked about the challenge of selecting materials that would be affordable and attractive while standing up to the high volume of use. “The lobby needs to be comfortable – and the interior colors and materials should be appealing. We also had to be extremely sensitive to issues of durability, maintenance, and cost. Our selections recognized and responded to these challenges.”

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