A major effect on traffic in a city already known for gridlock is expected after a massive fire caused a bridge on Interstate 85 to collapse in Atlanta. Georgia’s top transportation official said there’s no way to tell when the highway, which carries 250,000 cars a day, can be safely reopened to traffic in either direction following the collapse, which happened Thursday afternoon during rush hour.
“We will have to continue to evaluate the situation and adjust as we do,” Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry said. “This incident — make no bones about it — will have a tremendous impact on travel.”
The interstate is a major artery for the U.S. South and a thoroughfare for traffic heading north and south through Atlanta. The bridge collapse effectively “puts a cork in the bottle,” Georgia State Patrol Commissioner Mark McDonough said.
It began with a fire that The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports burned for more than an hour under I-85 northbound near Piedmont Road, spewing clouds of black smoke skyward. The interstate has been closed indefinitely and the Department of Transportation warned all motorists to stay off I-85.
Traffic was bumper to bumper on nearby surface streets Thursday night as people scrambled to find alternate routes.
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP
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