A large fire has collapsed a section of I-85 in Atlanta. (WSB/Cox Media Group)
Update: Georgia transportation officials said Friday that it will take "at least several months" to rebuild Interstate 85 after a massive fire caused a portion of the major thoroughfare to collapse in northeast Atlanta.
Gov. Nathan Deal declared a State of Emergency for Fulton County after the fire that started Thursday during afternoon rush hour.
Both the northbound and southbound bridges of I-85 south of Georgia State Route 400 will need to be replaced, Georgia's Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry said.
"At this time, we do not have an anticipated duration for the repairs as we have not been able to fully access the site due to hot spots, but we do know that it is expected to be a time consuming event," GDOT said on its Facebook page Friday.
The massive blaze that was burning underneath I-85 NB near Piedmont Road shut down several roads in northeast Atlanta. Due to continued impaired travel, DeKalb County Schools has canceled class for Friday, March 31.
Inspectors with Georgia's Department of Transportation arrived at the fire and collapse site to assess the damage Friday morning.
MARTA added extra service lines Friday to deal with the increase in riders expected during the morning and afternoon commutes.
Original post: A large fire has caused an overpass on Interstate 85 in Atlanta to collapse.
“The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety and minimize disruption of traffic as we continue emergency response efforts," Deal said in a news release after declaring a a state of emergency for Fulton County following the collapse. “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.”
BREAKING: SOE declared for Fulton Co. Metro Atl state gov. agencies will delay opening until 10 am tmrw. More here—> https://t.co/o9Mfd2RbFV