Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Commissioner Russell McMurry said during a lunchtime news conference that repairs to the collapsed section of I-85 will take “several months.” The federal government has pledged $10 million for repairs.
McMurry said three sections of northbound I-85 and three sections of southbound I-85 compromised by the fire will have to be totally replaced, including support columns. A portion of the elevated interstate goes over busy Piedmont Road.
Demolition is under way at the collapse site just before the Georgia 400 exit and is expected last through the weekend and into Monday.
“The question is how long will it take to repair. We have no firm estimate, but it will take several months to get rebuilt,” McMurry said.
What caused the fire that preceded the collapse is still unknown, but McMurry acknowledged that construction materials, including high density conduit, was stored under the roadway.
Georgia Public Safety Commissioner Mark McDonough said motorists would have to use I-75 and I-285 during the repair period, noting that surface streets would not be able to handle the 200,000-plus cars that cross over the collapsed portion of I-85 every day. “Use 285, get up earlier, find a new route,” he said. “This is the new normal.”
MARTA officials said they have seen a 25 percent surge in ridership and there has been a spike in Breeze card sales.