A massive fire from a chemical storage building located under the 85 Northbound Interstate at Piedmont Rd caused major traffic delays as it eventually engulfed the freeway in flames causing a major slab to completely collapse on Thursday evening.
According to Fox5Atlanta.com, Governor Nathan Deal has declared the collapse as a State of Emergency.
“The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety and minimize disruption of traffic as we continue emergency response efforts,” said Deal. “The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is coordinating response efforts with the Georgia Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency and other state and local officials. As this safety investigation and bridge assessment continues, we encourage the public to avoid the affected area, remain patient and allow first responders to perform their jobs. We will continue updating the public on alternative traffic routes and other information as it becomes available.”
Here’s videos we found that were trending across social media from drivers who witnessed this catastrophe as it was happening.
Mayor Kasim Reed has announced that until repairs can be done Interstate 85 Northbound is closed indefinitely. So what happens next?
Commuters dealt with traffic chaos early Friday morning. Authorities blocked on ramps to Interstate 85 south inside the Perimeter, and traffic was flowing smoothly on I-85 north of the collapse scene as the sun came up. Aerial video showed heavy backups along I-285 near Spaghetti Junction. I-285 is one of the primary alternate routes divers were advised to use to get around the I-85 closure.
Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) announced they are working quickly to identify alternate routes for commuters to navigate inbound, including using the Xpress Bus Service and the Peach Pass express lanes as well.
Thankfully there were no reporter drivers, law enforcement or fire department officers who were injured.
The next press conference from GDOT is scheduled for 11am.