Cheshire Bridge Road reopens 5 months after massive fire

Cheshire Bridge Road has reopened, officials announced Wednesday, after a fire in December.

Credit: John Spink /

Credit: John Spink /

Cheshire Bridge Road has reopened, officials announced Wednesday, after a fire in December.

The city of Atlanta has finished repairs on Cheshire Bridge Road, five months after a massive fire under the overpass shuttered a frequently driven stretch of the road, officials announced Wednesday evening.

The reopening is likely to be cause for celebration for northeast Atlanta residents who rely on the overpass to commute. The project had been delayed from an estimated spring completion date.

“Thank you all for your continued patience during the structural repairs,” the Atlanta Department of Transportation said on social media, while showing before and after drone shots of the progress.

The fire started in a homeless encampment under the bridge crossing the CSX railroad tracks Dec. 20, one of the coldest nights of the season. It was the second time in two years the bridge was closed, frustrating both motorists and local business owners who were forced to navigate detours once more between Faulkner Road and Wellbourne Drive.

That same stretch of Cheshire Bridge Road had been open for just over a year after a fire broke out in 2021 under another bridge — located about a quarter-mile away.

“Not again,” Ron Moore said when he arrived for work at his hair salon that morning and learned about the closure. Security video from an adjacent vacuum shop showed the fire starting after midnight and quickly spreading.

Early timelines projected the bridge would reopen in 10 weeks, but it was delayed due to “property access negotiations, site preparation, required document approvals and inclement weather,” according to a March 29 update document from the DOT.

“This is not the news I had hoped to be able to give to you today, but as I have, I’ll continue keeping you informed as frequently as I can throughout this entire project,” Atlanta City Council member Alex Wan, who represents the area, said at the time.

The department then cited May 27 as being the anticipated final day of construction. In March, Atlanta DOT spokesperson Michael Frierson said contractors were expected to work a “seven-day-a-week, 24-hour-a-day schedule” to quickly repair the structural damage to the bridge.

Those repairs included demolishing and replacing the damaged portion of the structure, shoring up existing utility and supports, as well as constructing a retaining wall and new road to connect the remaining portion of the bridge to the road. In May, crews were expected to handle road, bridge barrier and sidewalk construction, along with final asphalt topping and road striping.

Atlanta police blocked lanes of Cheshire Bridge Road near Faulkner Road in December after a fire broke out under the overpass.

Credit: Ben Hendren for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Credit: Ben Hendren for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Fire officials have not said what sparked the blaze, but city officials and advocates suspected it was the unintentional result of unhoused Atlantans trying to stay warm. In January, the city announced plans to clear out homeless encampments under bridges susceptible to fire.