ATLANTA - Following Thursday’s catastrophic fire and collapse of a portion of I-85 in Midtown Atlanta, Georgia DOT is following an aggressive schedule for replacement of this section of critical infrastructure.
Necessary work is continuing on the damaged sections of I-85 bridge structures. This includes demolition of the existing failed and damaged structures – which includes two 350-foot sections of interstate, one section each in both the northbound and southbound lanes, totaling approximately 700 feet - as well as all reconstruction activities.
Officials are continuing efforts to investigate the circumstances surrounding the fire that severely damaged the roadway and bridge structure. Georgia DOT is committed to assisting these experts in any manner and with all available information needed to reach a final determination on the cause of this incident, and is encouraged by recent developments toward the completion of the investigation. The Department has been advised that necessary work to repair and reconstruct the roadway may proceed in an effort to open the highway for motorists as quickly as is feasible.
Demolition work has begun and will continue through early next week. The demolition must be carefully completed to minimize damage to the existing stable roadway and not impact the bridge columns on the existing structures. Once demolition is completed, an accurate scope of needed work and a more exact timeline for expected completion can be estimated. A high-voltage power line and gas line have been identified in the area, requiring workers to take additional precaution during the demolition and subsequent construction phase of the project. The Georgia DOT bridge designers are currently working on finalizing the beam designs for the new sections of the road, and will begin the construction phase soon after the demolition work is completed.
Additionally, as an effort to quickly address congestion issues, the northbound lanes of I-85 beginning near the Peachtree Road overpass have been reconfigured to allow for two travel lanes to continue northbound up to the Buford-Spring Connector for local traffic only. At that point, all local traffic is now routed to the Buford-Spring Connector where vehicles travel through and return to I-85 north near Sidney Marcus Boulevard. This reconfiguration work includes the placement of concrete barrier as well as restriping of the lanes, which will help improve mobility through the area for motorists. Vehicles passing through metro Atlanta should still plan to utilize I-285 as the most efficient route of travel.
The new configuration of the roads will be ready for Monday morning travel, and will remain in place for the near future. Motorists should be prepared for new traffic patterns as they drive the corridor, and are encouraged to continue to seek alternate routes, ride MARTA or GRTA, contact Georgia Commute Options and to utilize a favorite wayfinding app. The Department of Public Safety has been working with the trucking industry and all trucking-related associations since the start of this event advising them of restrictions and needed route adjustments.
The Department and its partners are committed to working together to help minimize the impacts to the traveling public, while ensuring a new bridge is delivered as quickly as possible.
For more information and continuous updates, visit www.dot.ga.gov, or our statewide 511 travel system and be sure to follow us on our social media channels -Facebook and Twitter.