GDOT prepares to reopen I-85 in Atlanta

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GDOT prepares to reopen I-85 in Atlanta

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Traffic in Atlanta was scrambled by the collapse of an I-85 bridge and more than a month of work rebuild it. JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM

Last-minute preparations for the reopening of I-85 in Atlanta begin tonight, state transportation officials said Thursday.

The Georgia Department of Transportation plans lane closures and traffic pacing in the area beginning tonight as it prepares to restore traffic conditions that existed prior to the collapse of the bridge near Piedmont Road on March 30.

Beginning at 9 p.m. today, GDOT will return Buford Highway northbound, the ramps from Sidney Marcus Boulevard to Ga. 400 northbound and Piedmont Circle back to their original configurations.

The ramp from I-85 northbound to Buford Highway northbound will be returned to a single lane, and the merge points between Armour Drive and Piedmont Road will be restored. The Ga. 400 northbound on-ramp at Sidney Marcus will return to a single lane. Piedmont Circle will go back to two lanes eastbound and one lane westbound. The work will be completed by 5 a.m. Friday.

Gov. Nathan Deal said the bridge collapse site would be ready by rush hour Monday.

On Friday night GDOT will close the Buford Spring Connector southbound at I-85 southbound – including access from I-85 southbound, Piedmont Road southbound and Armour Drive. This will allow crews to convert the on-ramp to I-85 southbound back to a single lane. The work is expected to be finished by 5 a.m. Saturday.

GDOT has not said exactly when I-85 will reopen. But it has said the northbound lanes will likely open sometime Saturday, and the southbound lanes should reopen sometime Sunday.

In any case, Gov. Nathan Deal and GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry have pledged the highway will reopen before morning rush hour Monday.

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