GDOT: Fixing I-85 collapse will be ‘time-consuming event’

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GDOT: Fixing I-85 collapse will be ‘time-consuming event’

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John Spink/jpsink@ajc.com
Road and fire crews work on collapsed portion of I-85 northbound Friday, March 31, 2017. The portion of North and South I-85 was closed after the fire Thursday evening. It remains closed in both directions.

The Georgia Department of Transportation said Friday morning it was unclear of how long repairs to a portion of I-85 that collapsed near Piedmont Road will take.

"But we do know that it is expected to be a time consuming event,” GDOT Commissioner Russell R. McMurry said in a news release.

Bridge Inspectors were on scene in Atlanta overnight and determined that the damage, set off by a fire below the elevated road, was on the southbound side as well as the collapsed northbound bridge, he said.

“The extent of the fire-related damage necessitates extensive reconstruction activities to ensure the safety of motorists,” McMurry said. “We began design of the known damaged sections last night and continue designs as information is received.”

The timeline is unclear so far because hotspots of fire have kept crews from fully inspecting the site.

The area where the fire started is part of the state’s right of way that was utilized storage for construction materials, equipment and supplies, McMurry said. The site was a “secured area” with materials such as PVC piping, which McMurry described as “a stable, non-combustible material.”

“We are as eager to learn the cause of this fire as anyone, which is why we will continue to work closely and in full cooperation with fire investigators to determine exactly how the fire was started,” he said.

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