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

All lanes of I-20 West in DeKalb County were closed earlier Monday after the highway failed.

Two right lanes on I-20 West between Candler and Gresham roads in DeKalb County are open again after a portion of the highway buckled earlier Monday due to a damaged gas line, police said.

Georgia Department of Transportation officials said the damage in the left lanes isn’t expected to be repaired until noon Tuesday.

Traffic from I-285 is no longer blocked, GDOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale said.

"People just need to be aware that it could be slow going with only two lanes open," Dale said.

Crews were digging up concrete to repair a portion of damaged roadway on I-20 West in DeKalb County. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

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She added that the repair timeline would be contingent on how deeply crews need to dig to excavate and repair the gas line.

GDOT and police are working to determine the cause of the roadway failure.

“Work was being performed in the area on behalf of Atlanta Gas Light,” said Melissa Clontz, a spokeswoman for the utility company.

I-20 West was closed Monday morning after the highway buckled. ERIC STIRGUS / ERIC.STIRGUS@AJC.COM

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Initially, the fire department thought the road failure was related to an underground gas leak. But later, DeKalb police spokesman Maj. Stephen Fore said there was no evidence of a leak.

A motorcycle crashed when a portion of I-20 West buckled Monday morning. ERIC STIRGUS / ERIC.STIRGUS@AJC.COM

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Witness Greg Phillips saw a motorcyclist crash when it happened.

“(The motorcycle) just fell in,” Phillips said. “It was like a dip.”

No cars hit the man who fell from his bike. The bike landed about 50 yards away.

“That’s a heck of a place in the road for this to happen,” Phillips said. “More work for the DOT.”

Phillips said more than 10 people rushed to help the man who fell from the motorcycle. Some of the people said they worked at Grady Memorial Hospital.

The man, whose name has not been released, was a member of a local biker club and went by “Smoothe,” Channel 2 Action News reported. He reportedly had a wife and kids.

The biker had multiple fractures and his leg was likely broken, paramedic Dennis Pierre Charles said.

As he tried to help, Charles said he watched the bump in the road grow.

Traffic was diverted from I-20 West after the road buckled. HENRY TAYLOR / HENRY.TAYLOR@AJC.COM

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“The roadway just started getting higher and higher,” Charles said. “I’m not sure if something shifted underneath.”