All westbound lanes on I-20 reopened ahead of schedule early Tuesday. Part of the interstate buckled Monday. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

All lanes reopen after part of I-20 buckles

It’s a traffic miracle.

Ahead of schedule, all westbound lanes on I-20 reopened after a damaged gas line caused part of the interstate to buckle Monday in DeKalb County.

Georgia Department of Transportation officials originally said repairs between Candler and Gresham roads, where the damage occurred, would not be completed until noon Tuesday.

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PHOTOS: Part of I-20 West in DeKalb buckles 

RELATED: 2 lanes on I-20 West open after highway buckles; repairs underway

However, crews worked through the night and finished those repairs about 6:30 a.m .— just before the morning rush. They will return later to stripe the interstate.

“We wanted to open all lanes as soon as possible, so we used temporary tape to mark the lanes this morning,” GDOT engineer Kathy Zahul said. “Crews will return when traffic volumes are lower to place the permanent lane striping.”

Initially, DeKalb fire officials thought the road failure was related to an underground gas leak. But DeKalb fire Capt. Eric Jackson said Tuesday “it had nothing to do with any gas.”

A private contractor was filling an old, 36-inch gas line under the interstate with concrete to seal the line. Pressure built and caused the road to buckle, Jackson said.

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The motorcyclist, Kwame Howard, was tossed in the air. He was in critical condition Tuesday, Jackson said.

A GoFundMe page was set up to help with his medical expenses. According to the page, Howard shattered both knees, sustained a head injury and had other injuries.

The expedited reopening of I-20 West did not solve all traffic woes.

Just as officials wrapped repairs Tuesday morning, a crash blocked right lanes on I-20 West near Boulevard, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center.

» For updated traffic information, listen to News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB and follow @ajcwsbtraffic on Twitter.

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