2 hurt in Atlanta bridge collapse; messy commute on Bolton Road

A section of Bolton Road in northwest Atlanta will be closed for at least 48 hours after a truck smashed a bridge overhead, partially collapsing the structure Tuesday.

Atlanta city officials said the portion of Bolton under the CSX train bridge and a short distance from Marietta Road to the east is being closed to make sure it is safe enough for travel.

Commuters who use the road as a cut-through to Cobb County in the afternoon or as one into the city from Cobb in the morning should expect a  somewhat lengthy and meandering detour.

To avoid the blocked-off section of Bolton Road, eastbound traffic on Bolton Road should turn right onto James Jackson Parkway, left onto Peyton Road, right onto Hollywood Road, left onto Perry Boulevard, left onto Marietta Road and right onto Bolton Road.

Westbound traffic on Bolton Road should turn left onto Marietta Road, right onto Perry Boulevard, right onto Hollywood Road, left onto Peyton Road, right onto James Jackson Parkway and left onto Bolton Road.

Two people  were injured in the accident Tuesday and taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

A truck driven by one of the injured individuals hit the bridge, causing a 20-foot piece of concrete to fall onto the vehicle, said Atlanta police spokeswoman Kim Jones.

One person was trapped in the truck and was extricated shortly after 10 a.m.; he was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital with moderate injuries to his lower extremities, possibly broken bones, said Atlanta Fire Capt. Jolyon Bundridge.

The man, identified by police as Thomas Sealock, was in stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries. A woman in a car behind the truck, identified as Elaine Bomar, was also transported to Grady with minor injuries.

Sealock was charged with unsecured load, failure to obey traffic control device and collision with an object adjacent to the street, Atlanta police spokesman Curtis Davenport said.

Bundridge said the truck is about 30 feet long with a hydraulic ramp on the back.

He said investigators are trying to determine if part of the truck hit the overhead structure of the bridge, which has a clearance of 13 feet, 5 inches. The ramp on the truck, which belonged to Community Waste Services, was in the raised position after the wreck.

The bridge belongs to the CSX, according to David Spear, press secretary for the state Department of Transportation. The state is not responsible for inspection or maintenance of the bridge, he said.

Craig Camuso, a spokesman for CSX, told Channel 2 Action News that the damage that was strictly cosmetic and did not affect load-bearing parts of the span. A train passed over just before 1 p.m. without incident.

Atlanta City Councilwoman Felicia Moore, who lives in and represents the Bolton neighborhood where the incident happened, told the AJC that this is not the first time the bridge has been hit.

Moore, who said she drives under the bridge several times a day, said the bridge has been hit by over-height trucks “several times” over the years. “You can look and see many nicks” in the concrete along the bottom edge of the bridge, she said.

“We’re going to really look and see if we can find a way to cut out the truck traffic,” the councilwoman said. “This has been an issue with trucks coming up and down this road.”

She said that even though the bridge is well-marked as being a low overpass, some truck drivers “for some reason, either don’t know how high they are, or they ignore the clearance signs.”

“People have been hitting it for years, and this time, it was almost deadly.”

After surveying the crushed truck, Moore said the driver “must have had an angel on his shoulders to have lived through this.”

“It’s going to be a nightmare for rush hour,” Moore said. “I know a lot of Cobb County commuters like to cut through the neighborhood going home, and they need to know that they need to find another route home.”

Staff writer Joel Provano contributed to this article