Interstate 85 in Atlanta has collapsed just south of the GA 400 connector that connects to the interstate bridge in Midtown. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the collapse of the I-85 bridge in midtown Atlanta was due to a goliath fire that had broken out underneath the I-85 bridge.
Early reports indicate that the I-85 bridge collapsed during peak driving times in Atlanta, which could potentially lead to dire circumstances for motorists.
The fire that broke out underneath I-85 produced a black smoke cloud that could be seen for miles, according to the report on AJC. In the uptown section of Atlanta, known as Buckhead, reports have also indicated that the black smoke coming from I-85 that started around 6:15 p.m. in Atlanta had caused a blackout for residents, who described thinking that a thunderstorm was rolling in.
— CBS46 (@cbs46) March 31, 2017
“It got dark all of a sudden so I turned on the news to see if it was the rain,” Paula Pontes told AJC. “I didn’t panic because I couldn’t see the fire coming. It was just smoke. It became night.”
The collapse of I-85 due to the fire has recently been postulated that flammable materials had been stored underneath the interstate, thus being the source of the massive fire that collapsed an entire bridge of I-85.
Although the situation on Interstate 85 appears to be under control, the fallout from the collapse will be far more devastating to the city and to the people that have possibly been injured from the situation.
According to various live reports from the 11 Alive News home page and Facebook feed in Atlanta, there was also an encampment of homeless people that had lived underneath the bridge that collapsed on I-85.
The dramatic scene was captured on video from an aerial view of the I-85 collapse in Atlanta, which showed the fire and collapse both.
The collapse of I-85 will also be a complete nightmare for the city of Atlanta for the coming weeks and months ahead. Interstate 85 was a major thoroughfare for Atlanta, connecting to several major highways and interstates just a few miles north of the city and feeding a steady stream of traffic that was already quite challenged while functioning as normal.
The current impact has caused a nightmare for traffic in Atlanta on Thursday night, but the nightmare will not end there. The repair of the bridge for Interstate 85 will take months to fix, but will also have to be subjected to safety tests and stress tests. There is really no telling at this point just how much damage has been caused to other parts of Interstate 85 that have not yet collapsed.
The intensity of the fire was so immense that it cause a structurally intact bridge on Interstate 85 to collapse. So that indicates that there will be some parts of the interstate close to the collapsed bridge that might have been compromised as well.
Wow… hope everyone is ok. I know traffic is about to be ridiculous for a few weeks https://t.co/2PVE3sezIH
— Kool Cutta (@KoolCutta) March 31, 2017
It is unclear at this time if the structural integrity to surrounding areas of Interstate 85 have been diminished, but it is a reasonable assumption to make.
As far as the heavy traffic that Atlanta had already endured, especially during peak times such as rush hour and major events in sports and entertainment, the real pain for the residents in and around the city will come in these months following today’s devastating event.
It would be a fair assumption that all major traffic on the northend of Atlanta around Interstate 285, also knows as the bypass that circles the metropolitan area of Atlanta, will be diverted to the west side of the northend via I-285 to connect with Interstate 75. I-75 also runs north and south the same as I-85 (east side traffic), but does so on the western side of the bypass. Eventually as motorists get closer to Atlanta, I-85 and I-75 merge into one interstate known in Atlanta as the “Connector,” and that runs the entire length of the city until they divide again on the south end of Atlanta.
As the situation now stands, all southbound traffic coming into Atlanta will have to be served by I-75, which was usually congested with stopped traffic on the interstate before today’s events.
[Featured Image by Davis Turner/Getty Images]