I-85 bridge collapses, alternate routes suggested

By Elaine Owen, Editor ~~

A section of northbound Interstate 85 collapsed March 30, caused by a raging fire below the bridge. The cause of the fire is still unknown. What is known is the heat from the 40-foot flames caused a portion of the interstate above to collapse around 7 p.m. Thursday evening.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said the collapse “was as serious a transportation crisis as we could have.” He added that the city had been in contact with an FBI special agent who said there was no evidence the fire was related to terrorism.
Georgia Department of Transportation officials said all five lanes of I-85 in each direction will be closed for the “foreseeable future.” Both the northbound and southbound lanes were damaged and will need to be replaced. This is likely to cause massive traffic issues for the 250,000 estimated vehicles that travel on that section of the interstate each day.
Reed said no loss of life had been reported for travelers or medical responders.
GDOT released two maps to re-route commuters from Piedmont and I-85, as well as the following guidelines:

I-85 Bridge alternate route

I-85 Bridge alternate route

● I-85 is closed from the I-75/Brookwood split to the North Druid Hills Exit.
Motorists traveling northbound on I-85 from the southside of Atlanta will be diverted to northbound I-75 at Brookwood near 17th Street.
Motorists traveling southbound on I-85 north of Atlanta will be diverted to northbound on SR400.

Motorists traveling southbound on SR400 from north of Atlanta will be diverted at Sidney Marcus exit.
● I-285 and I-20 are both open to traffic and are the best alternatives for motorists to utilize if possible.
GDOT also recommended travelers use MARTA when possible. MARTA released a statement Thursday evening that it will provide additional services to accommodate the influx of anticipated passengers, including more trains and MARTA representatives on hand. MARTA bus lanes affected by the bridge collapse include 27, 6, 33, 30 and 47.
Deal declares state of emergency
Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for Fulton County following the fire and bridge collapse on Interstate 85. State government agencies in Metro Atlanta delayed opening until 10 a.m. Friday and employees able to telecommute were encouraged to do so.
Deal said, “The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety and minimize disruption of traffic as we continue emergency response efforts. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is coordinating response efforts with the Georgia Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency and other state and local officials.