ATLANTA — Many commuters in some of Atlanta’s densely populated northern suburbs will have to find alternate routes or ride public transit for the foreseeable future after a massive fire caused a bridge on Interstate 85 to collapse, completely shutting down the heavily travelled highway.
Georgia’s top transportation official said there’s no way to tell when the highway, which carries 250,000 cars a day, can be safely reopened to traffic in either direction following the collapse, which happened Thursday afternoon during rush hour.
“We will have to continue to evaluate the situation and adjust as we do,” Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry said. “This incident — make no bones about it — will have a tremendous impact on travel.”
The interstate is a major artery for the U.S. South and a thoroughfare for traffic heading north and south through Atlanta. The bridge collapse effectively “puts a cork in the bottle,” Georgia State Patrol Commissioner Mark McDonough said.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency, saying the state is mobilizing resource to try to keep traffic disruption to a minimum while emergency work continues.
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