When an Interstate 20 highway buckled in DeKalb County, near Atlanta, it sent a motorcycle airborne, leaving the driver with critical injuries, according to USA Today.
Early Monday morning, an unidentified motorcyclist was traveling westbound in the carpool lane at about 55 mph. As the driver approached Candler Road and Gresham Road, a large buckle and cracks in the road came into view but it was too late to stop.
The motorcyclist struck the I-20 highway buckle, prompting his vehicle to go airborne and land about 200 feet from the roadway failure.
Witness Greg Phillips said “the motorcycle just fell in… It was like a dip.”
Bystanders rushed to the motorcyclist’s aid until emergency services arrived and transported the driver to a local hospital.
Medical staff says the driver sustained multiple injuries after hitting the I-20 highway buckle near Atlanta.
It was reported that a vehicle went airborne after hitting the buckle on I-20, landing about 10 to 15 feet from the lifted pavement but the driver did not endure any injuries.
All westbound lanes of Interstate 20 were subsequently shut down in DeKalb County.
Traffic was diverted from Interstate 20 to “either I-285 North or I-285 South” while the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) work diligently to determine what happened on Interstate 20 that caused the road to buckle and crack.
It was initially determined that a gas leak under the Interstate 20 highway overpass caused the buckle and cracks in the road, but according to Melissa Clontz, a spokesperson for the utility company, a gas leak did not cause a portion of the highway to rise and crack.
“Work was being performed in the area on behalf of Atlanta Gas Light,” Clontz continued.
“This incident was not caused by and did not involve the release of natural gas.”
At around 1:45 p.m. on Monday, the Georgia Department of Transportation says that there was no evidence of a gas leak below the overpass, and the cause of the I-20 roadway failure remains unknown.
As of now, two lanes on Interstate 20 highway in DeKalb County reopens and the Georgia Department of Transportation says that they are hoping to have all lanes open by Tuesday afternoon, but there is no guarantee that repairs will be completed within that time frame.
Natalie Dale, a spokesperson for GDOT, said that “motorists should not plan for an all-open on this section of the road until at least noon tomorrow… People just need to be aware that it could be slow going with only two lanes open.”
“This is not an occurrence that happens every day. This is an extenuating circumstance of some things that happened when some work was being done so this does not indicate that we have widespread crumbling infrastructure.”
Dale went on to say that concrete and excavating material will be removed from the Interstate 20 highway in an effort to uncover the cause of the pavement rising, which sent a motorcycle and a vehicle airborne, critically injuring one driver.
“It is unknown how deep we will have to go to excavate,” said Dale, adding that it “will be the biggest hurdle to how quickly we can get this section of the road put back together.”
When the Interstate 20 highway buckle made headlines, the Georgia Department of Transportation released a statement.
GDOT stated that the roadway I-20 road buckle was “likely due to an issue with an underground utility installation.”
“Inspectors are assessing the situation and crews are prepared to work quickly to repair the interstate. Until further information is available, we cannot provide an estimated time for repairs to be made. More information will be shared as soon possible.”
An investigation into the Intestate 20 highway buckle and cracks is underway.
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