Atlanta’s I-85 bridge succumbed to a fiery collapse on Thursday. The aftermath is creating a “Transportation Crisis” in Georgia. Breaking news out of Atlanta reveals three people have been arrested in connection with the fire.
Atlanta’s 1-85 bridge collapsed at about 7 p.m. Thursday due to a fire of previously unknown origin. The bridge was on fire for over an hour before one section gave way, and other sections were structurally compromised. No one was injured, and the bridge was successfully blocked off.
The Atlanta 1-85 bridge fire is currently being thoroughly investigated and the current theory has just been revealed. The state fire marshal’s office just announced that Basil Eleby was charged with “first-degree criminal damage to property” in connection with Atlanta’s I-85 bridge fire. Two others suspects have been charged with criminal trespass, reports WSB-TV 2 in Atlanta Georgia.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution identifies the two alleged trespassers with Basil Eleby as Sophia Bruner and Barry Thomas. Jay Florence, who is deputy commissioner for the state Department of Insurance, believes the three may have been homeless.
Atlanta’s I-85 Bridge could have been destroyed by homeless people alleges Jay Florence, but the investigation is just getting underway. Florence is quoted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“We believe they were together when the fire was set and Eleby is the one who set the fire.”
The Atlanta I-85 bridge is a vital piece of American infrastructure, carrying 243,000 cars per day according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It is one of the busiest highways in the country, connecting the eastern part of the country from north to south.
A major stretch of I-85 is now closed indefinitely in Georgia. Not only is this new obstruction devastating to local traffic, it is a major problem for truckers, supply lines, and travelers. The detours will further congest already crowded Atlanta streets.
Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed raised the alarm late Thursday according to NBC News, explaining the serious nature of the crippling loss of a major transportation artery.
“This is about as serious a transportation crisis as we can imagine,”
Interstate 85 both northbound and southbound are closed “for the foreseeable future” according to the Georgia Department of Transportation officials. WSB-TV 2 out of Atlanta reported getting all the cars off the interstate was difficult. It is being recommended that Atlanta’s citizens use the MARTA trains.
The Atlanta 1-85 bridge fire came as a great shock. The fire is still under investigation, but it is thought that stored materials beneath the bridge were used to start the fire. Whether this fire was arson or accidental, or whether the suspects arrested were actually involved, is uncertain at this time.
The Atlanta 1-85 bridge collapse will have to be repaired, but it is being reported that it might take months to rebuild. At least three sections of the northbound and southbound lane will have to be completely replaced. It’s not just the one section that collapsed. Russell McMurry of the Georgia Department of transportation is quoted by WSB-TV 2.
“That is a total of approximately 350 feet in each direction, and it includes rebuilding the support columns that hold up the bridge itself. We are underway with designs now to replace the damaged area,” McMurray said. “This is a dynamic situation, and we’re learning as much as we can as time unfolds. It will take at least several months to rebuild.”
The Atlanta 1-85 bridge fire and collapse in Georgia has severed one of the nation’s major transportation arteries and it will take several months to repair.
[Featured Image by David Goldman/AP Images]