Last night a massive fire caused a bridge on I-85 in Atlanta to collapse, resulting in “as serious a transportation crisis as we can imagine,” according to Mayor Kasim Reed.
The fire started around 6 p.m. when plastic utility conduits that were stored underneath the bridge began to burn. The fire raged for about an hour before the the bridge carrying the northbound lanes of I-85 collapsed. Crews finally brought in foam trucks to put out the blaze.
— ABC News (@ABC) March 31, 2017
Luckily, transportation officials were able to clear the interstate before the bridge collapsed, so no injuries were reported.
Investigators are still unsure what caused the fire. Mayor Kasim Reed says that he has spoken with the FBI and that there is not evidence of terrorism.
I-85 Bridge Collapse Atlanta pic.twitter.com/6BtFhWtPqq
— Brent Fidler (@brentfidler) March 30, 2017
A three-mile stretch of I-85 has been shut down. The bridge collapse occurred in the northbound lanes of I-85, but officials say that the southbound lanes are so badly damaged that they must be repaired and replaced as well before the interstate can be reopened. There is currently no estimated time for the interstate’s reopening, but Georgia DOT says that repairs are “expected to be a time consuming event.”
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency.
The I-85 closure is expected to cause massive traffic nightmares in Atlanta. Approximately 250,000 vehicles use the interstate every day. Now those vehicles will be forced to take either I-75 to I-285 or I-20 to I-285. There are already reports of heavy backups on I-285 near Spaghetti Junction this morning.
Huge fire under a piece of I-85 North that has now collapsed pic.twitter.com/p2PymLAGrs
— Alex (@BearWorePlaid) March 30, 2017