With $10 million in federal funds approved to fix the collapsed portion of I-85 in Atlanta, Georgia and federal officials and others say they are committed ensuring the rebuilding process is expedited and the interstate is operational as quickly as possible.
According to a press release, roughly 700 feet of the roadway near Piedmont Road – about 350 feet northbound and 350 feet southbound – will be removed and replaced, including support columns. Demolition will begin this weekend and will continue into Monday.
Georgia DOT Commissioner Russell R. McMurry, along with state and local officials, briefed the public on developments in the ongoing efforts to repair and replace sections of the I-85 roadway near Piedmont Road that collapsed Thursday night following a fire that burned underneath the interstate. Earlier today, the commissioner met with Gov. Nathan Deal and Butch Waidelich from the Federal Highway Administration.
After walking the site, McMurry expressed gratitude to the first responders who kept the public safe and prevented a terrible situation from being far worse.
Since Thursday night, Georgia DOT bridge inspectors have been inspecting the site, assessing the damage and providing information to engineering and design teams. The Georgia DOT will continue the process of determining the extent of the damage in adjacent sections and surrounding infrastructure, and there may be additional repair work that is not quite as obvious.
The department’s engineers began design work for the known damaged sections last night and will continue to advance that process as additional information is available.
"I’d like to express our thanks and gratitude to the motoring public, who listened to the information we distributed overnight and changed their commute patterns this morning to take the pressure off of the metro roadways,” McMurry said. “I thank the people of Atlanta for their resilience and the exceptional efforts taken to find alternative routes, adjust schedules and use transit to help ease congestion around this site.”
McMurry also explained that the area where the fire originated is part of the state’s right of way utilized as a storage location for construction materials, equipment and supplies. The area contained materials such as plastic conduit, which is a stable, non-combustible material used for electrical or fiber optic cables.
He said the storage site was a secured area that has been used in this manner for years, and that it is not an uncommon practice for Georgia DOT or other state agencies throughout the country to store their material on the right of way.
McMurry reiterated that the department was still in the assessment phase, and it will take several months of construction for the roadway to be open to traffic. He said the department has aggressive goals to work to reopen some adjacent roadways to traffic in the near future, and will provide updates on these openings as soon as plans are finalized.
Georgia DOT asks that travelers plan their travel in advance and consider options like transit, alternative routes, flex scheduling and work from home, if possible.