Governor Nathan Deal proclaimed “This is a day of Celebration!” According to Deal, the I-85 bridge is set to reopen by rush hour on Monday, May 15th. Deal and multiple transportation authorities held a press conference this morning at the state capitol building to discuss the great news.
The bridge’s initial completion date was set for June 15th, however incentives to contractor C.W. Mathews has accelerated the project to be done a month early; a mere 6 weeks after flames caused the bridge collapse.
During that time, over 700 ft of bridge has been reconstructed. Additionally, the highway inside closed area has been resurfaced and equip with stripes and reflectors, a project that was slated to be done later in the year.
A few things still need to be done in order for the reopening of the interstate. Over the weekend, crews are going to install expansion joints, complete side barriers, install street lights, and clean up construction debris. The commissioner of the department of transportation, Russell McMurry, said the bridge is “absolutely guaranteed” to open on Monday, no matter the weather.
Governor Deal hinted at the possibility that the bridge could be open before Monday, but no promises were made.
Overall, Deal was “Pleasantly surprised” by the bridge rebuilding timetable and thanked the DOT, Atlanta’s commuters, and the media for their efforts in reporting accurate transportation information during this chaotic time.
Despite Monday’s reopening of I-85, officials are encouraging commuters to continue to use MARTA, public transportation, and alternative methods of transportation.
WAOK will have the latest updates on the interstates reopening.
– Julien Virgin is a staff writer at CBS Radio.