BRIDGE RESCUE: Atlanta I-85 bridge collapses due to massive fire

March 31, 2017

The governor has declared a state of emergency after the collapse Thursday night, though there were no reported injuries from the fire

Gov. Nathan Deal (R) has declared a state of emergency for Fulton County, Ga., after a huge fire caused a bridge on I-85 to collapse in Atlanta on Thursday night.

With the heavily used road closed in both directions, Georgia transportation officials are telling drivers to find other options—from detours to mass transit.

The shutdown affects a roughly 3-mile portion of I-85, blocking a major artery that runs through the heart of Atlanta. As of Friday morning, officials said they did not yet know what caused the fire or how long repairs will take. They also said no injuries were reported as a result of the fire. Police had cleared the interstate before part of the overpass failed catastrophically.

The road normally carries some 250,000 vehicles a day. While the collapse took out northbound lanes of I-85, officials say damage to the southbound lanes must also be repaired before they can be reopened.

As of Friday morning, hot spots from the fire were still preventing crews from assessing the full extent of the damage. Georgia Department of Transportation officials are expecting repairs to be time-consuming once the damage can be safely evaluated.