3 people in custody in connection with Atlanta I-85 fire

He knows that trip will now be longer after one of Atlanta's main interstates collapsed Thursday in a massive fire.

The Atlanta Police Department issues a traffic alert advising drivers to find alternate routes around the area.

Firefighters also halted pedestrian traffic below and near the bridge.

Stafford said firefighters stopped vehicle traffic on I-85 nearly as soon as they arrived on the scene, sensing collapse of the roadway could be imminent.

The blaze broke out Thursday afternoon in an area used to store construction materials, equipment and supplies, sending flames and smoke high into the air.

Atlanta commuters' immediate future in the wake of the Interstate 85 collapse was summed up Thursday night in a single tweet from the Georgia Department of Public Safety: "Plan your alternate route for your daily commute".

Amelia Ford, who lives in Atlanta, opted to find another route to work by auto Friday said it took her 45 minutes to travel 3 miles from her home to the nearest open interstate exit.

"We're fortunate there were no injuries or deaths, but based on the havoc it has caused in the city and state, this is one of the more serious investigations that has taken place since I've been at the department", he said.

Some 250,000 motorists use the highway each day to travel in and out of downtown Atlanta, state officials said.

Having construction materials stored under a highway is something out of the ordinary. It was a big sound. "We ask for your continued patience as we gather more information and details on the required repairs and reconstruction activities needed to bring this roadway back to operational levels", McMurry said. "You could feel the vibrations", he said.

Built in 1953 and renovated in 1985, the span scored high in its most recent inspection, receiving a rating of 94.6 out of 100 in 2015, said Natalie Dale, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Transportation Department. They said 700 feet of both the northbound and southbound lanes on I-85 would have to be rebuilt. Authorities are still working to determine how the fire started.

While the highway is normally jammed with cars around that time, there were no fatalities, Mayor Kasim Reed said.

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, or MARTA, planned to increase rail services and have additional staff on hand to help passengers figure out how to get where they're going.

"It's going to take a while for everybody to adjust to this - what is the new normal", Georgia State Patrol Commissioner Mark McDonough told WABE radio.

"This incident - make no bones about it - will have a tremendous impact on travel", McMurry said.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency after the interstate collapse, saying the state is mobilizing resources to try to keep traffic disruption to a minimum while emergency work continues.

Traffic was backed up for miles in Atlanta after part of Interstate 85 collapsed due to a massive fire.

  • Salvatore Jensen