ATLANTA, Ga — Governor Nathan Deal says the collapsed section Atlanta’s busy I-85 will reopen no later than Monday, less than two months after a major fire caused the bridge give way.
Gov. Deal and the Georgia Department of Transportation announce Wednesday the northbound and southbound lanes of the I-85 bridge over Piedmont Road will be open by Monday morning rush hour. The bridge will reopen five weeks ahead of the original estimate schedule for June 15.
“While this situation has been a tremendous challenge, the response from the people of Georgia has been nothing less than remarkable,” says Deal. “It is extraordinary that in just six weeks, this critical piece of infrastructure is nearly ready to reopen for motorist use following the fire and bridge collapse.”
As News 3 reported, the fire that caused the bridge collapse started March 30 and three suspects were arrested in connection to suspected arson.
GDOT estimated the bridge reconstruction cost at up to $16.6 million. Governor Deal says the majority of expenses will likely be funded by the federal government.
A multimillion-dollar bonus for the contractor was included in the budget and can be credited for the bridge’s speedy recovery.
GDOT says close to 250,000 drivers use the stretch of Interstate 85 every day. After the fire and collapse, drivers were forced to use longer, congested detours or switch to using the MARTA system.