Best detours around the Atlanta highway collapse

Pedestrians walk down a closed portion of Piedmont Avenue near an overpass that collapsed from a large fire on Interstate 85 in Atlanta, Friday, March 31, 2017. "We will continue updating the public on alternative traffic routes and other information as it becomes available".

The Braves' new stadium sits at the intersection of I-285 - Atlanta's perimeter loop that will be used as a detour during repairs - and I-75. "We're very cautious, very mindful, but it can happen, bridges are exposed to risk all the time, whether it's things underneath the bridge or just things travel around them, like train cars, tanker trucks, vehicular collisions".

A mysterious fire collapsed an I-85 northbound overpass Thursday evening - injuring no one - and also damaged the southbound portion, forcing the closure of all five lanes in each direction for the foreseeable future.

The interstate is a major artery for the U.S. South and a thoroughfare for traffic heading north and south through Atlanta. The bridge was on fire for over an hour before one section gave way, and other sections were structurally compromised.

Officials with the Georgia Department of Transportation say it will take several months for crews to fix the I-85 collapse in Atlanta.

No casualties were reported after the span gave way on Thursday night as a fire raged beneath it, sending plumes of black smoke into the air and briefly setting off a fireball before the structure fell in on itself, snarling traffic. They are now in the Atlanta city jail.

He would not discuss how the fire was started or why, saying those details would be released as the investigation progresses. Miles of the road will be shut down for months for repairs. "We knew that they had been near the scene and interviewed the two of them, which led to subsequent interview of the third [suspect]", Florence said.

Why did the fire ruin the overpass?

GDOT said Friday the material belonged to the state and was on state property.

"This is a dynamic situation, and we're learning as much as we can as time unfolds", Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry said during a news conference Friday at the fire site.

Dr. Lauren Stewart, an engineering professor at Georgia Tech, said that it doesn't combust easily, "but if under high temperature environment, it can combust and I believe it burns relatively hot".

Officials still don't know what caused the intense fire but the area where it occurred was used to store construction materials including high density plastic conduit which is non-combustible, McMurray said.

MARTA officials said they have seen a 25 percent surge in ridership and there has been a spike in Breeze card sales. She typically drives, often by way of the interstate.

He said it was too early to tell how long it would be for that part of I-85 to reopen but estimated it could be weeks or months.

  • Larry Hoffman