GDOT: 243,000 cars a day pass through stretch of I-85 near bridge collapse

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GDOT: 243,000 cars a day pass through stretch of I-85 near bridge collapse

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David Goldman/AP
Smoke billows from a section of an overpass that collapsed from a large fire on Interstate 85 in Atlanta, Thursday, March 30, 2017. Witnesses say troopers were telling cars to turn around on the bridge because they were concerned about its integrity. Minutes later, the bridge collapsed. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

When an elevated section of I-85 near Ga. 400 collapsed, one of the first reactions of Atlantans was horror what this means for the city’s traffic. That part of I-85 is close to downtown and provides a major thoroughfare for hundreds of thousands of people. How bad will this be for commuters? 

The answer, to no one’s surprise, is that it will be terrible. Georgia Department of Transportation data for a spot on I-85 slightly south of the collapse showed 243,000 vehicles traveled there daily. A 2012 estimate said the bridge itself carried approximately 199,160 vehicles a day in both directions. 

The section of the highway that collapsed Thursday is counted in federal data as part of a 4,000-foot-long bridge built in 1984 and reconstructed in 1993, according to inspection reports released by Georgia DOT Saturday. 

The bridge received a “sufficiency rating” of 78 on a scale of 1-100 in its most recent inspection in 2015, according to the data. Its deck, superstructure and substructure were all rated as good. 

Largely made of prestressed concrete, the bridge was rated to carry 79.2 tons, the federal inspection reports said. 

We still don’t know exactly what caused the fire which was followed by the collapse of the bridge.

This story was published at 11:38 p.m. Thursday, March 30, and has been updated since then. 

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