I-85 bridge disaster quickly becomes political

The I-85 bridge collapse is sure to snarl traffic for the foreseeable future. AP photo

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The I-85 bridge collapse is sure to snarl traffic for the foreseeable future. AP photo

Fulton Commission chair John Eaves dings Mayor Kasim Reed’s call for a 1996 “flashback”

It didn’t take long for the I-85 bridge collapse to become political fodder.

In a 2:35 a.m. email to supporters, Fulton County Commission Chair John Eaves, a candidate in the crowded Atlanta mayoral race, called the traffic misery staring Atlanta in the face in the aftermath of the massive I-85 fire and collapse a crisis that “exposes the underlying issue of the lack of a cohesive and comprehensive transportation plan.”

He got in a subtle dig at the guy currently holding the job he seeks.

“We need leaders who have a vision, not those looking for solutions used during the 1996 Olympics,” Eaves wrote. “We need leaders who roll up their sleeves to develop robust public policy, not people who roll up to a scene because there are cameras.”

UPDATE: The Atlanta Braves' advice for fans coming to tonight's game

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Flames are still shooting out from beneath the bridge as firefighters work to quench the fire and keep people safe.

During a news conference late Thursday, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed urged commuters to look back as they brace for transportation challenges to come.

“We need a flashback moment to when we had the Centennial Olympic Games, to when we used MARTA,” Reed said, adding that the transit system has extended its operating hours.

Eaves’ email asserts he is the “ONLY mayoral candidate who has been actively taking a leadership role to resolve the issues.”

Atlanta City Council members Kwanza Hall and Ceasar Mitchell, also mayoral candidates, are taking a different approach - posting informative updates rather than political commentary:

Mitchell’s pinned tweet offers words of support and thanks to first responders:

Ditto City Council member Keisha Lance Bottoms:

State Sen. Vincent Fort - who was tied up last night as the Georgia Legislature wrapped up this year’s session - took a similar approach, retweeting information aimed at helping commuters navigate the mess:

Look for other mayoral candidates to weigh in swiftly as the 85 disaster aftermath, certain to be a key issue in the race, wreaks havoc on Atlantans’ commutes.