The I-85 corridor, closed since the bridge collapsed as a result of a March 30 fire, will reopen on May 15, officials announced.
Gov. Nathan Deal, along with Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Commissioner Russell McMurry and State Transportation Board Chairman Robert L. Brown Jr., made the announcement on May 9.
The northbound and southbound lanes of the I-85 bridge over Piedmont Road in metro Atlanta are projected to open to traffic by morning rush-hour on May 15. The new opening date is nearly two weeks earlier than GDOT’s most recent commitment of Memorial Day weekend, and five weeks ahead of the original projected opening date of June 15.
“While this situation has been a tremendous challenge, the response from the people of Georgia has been nothing less than remarkable,” said Deal.
GDOT estimates approximately $27 million in motorist savings by opening I-85 weeks ahead of original projections.
This high-traffic section of I-85 carries nearly 243,000 vehicles each day under normal circumstances.
“We knew that the closure of the corridor would have a major impact on local and regional travel. We have been laser-focused not only on rapid construction, but also on safety and efficiency,” said GDOT Commissioner McMurry. “Six weeks is an amazingly short timeframe to complete this project. At the same time, it is probably the most inspected, most scrutinized construction project Georgia DOT has ever undertaken, with our inspectors working on site around the clock. We did our due diligence each day and every step of the way.”
To date, GDOT has logged more than 3,500 man hours of on-site inspections, with as many as eight inspectors on-site at a time. Inspections include examining the fabricated steel beams off-site and inspecting them again for size and spacing on-site. Inspectors also sampled and tested the concrete before it was poured.