The Interstate 85 Atlanta Bridge Collapse Traffic Apocalypse

Today, a major event happened in Atlanta Metro that is going to cause traffic chaos for the next few months.  A section of the Interstate 85 elevated bridge between the Interstate 75 split to the Georgia 400 split collapsed.  The northbound bridge now has a major gap in it.  The southbound bridge is still all intact but we don’t know if the fire has compromised a section of the bridge as well.

Here are some social media reactions to the collapse.

So, what could have caused this fire that has caused a major interstate bridge to collapse?  All you have to do is look at Google Maps!  Apparently, under the bridge there are fiber optic cables that were being stored.  It looks like it could be cable for traffic management systems because no DOT’s anywhere in the country would allow stuff like this to be stored under a major infrastructure corridor.

A viewer sent in a photo to WSB-TV apparently showing the fire starting.

Of course, there will be investigations about how this fire started.  But the Georgia DOT needs to explain why a ton of cables like this were allowed to be stored under a major bridge.  Were these cables for the DOT that they were going to use, or was a private company storing these here for their use?  Either way, this was very stupid!  So, we are now talking about up to six months of major traffic gridlock in the Atlanta Metro, up to six months!

Two major traffic corridors to get into downtown Atlanta from the very crowded northern suburbs are now cut-off.  You can’t take I-85 north of downtown or Georgia 400 into downtown Atlanta.  So, the only two alternatives to get into downtown Atlanta now involves getting onto the Interstate 285 loop.  You can either take the loop south to get to I-20, or you can take the loop west to I-75.  I-285, especially between I-85 and I-75 on the northside of Atlanta is already a jam packed traffic cluster fest every day.  So, let’s add even more traffic to this, yeah its not good!

Now, there is a parallel freeway next I-85 called Georgia 13 or the Buford Spring Connector.  There are ramps on either side of the bridge collapse that could provide a local temporary detour to I-85.

But let’s be honest, those ramps are only one lane and Georgia 13 is only two lanes.  So, it’s like draining a gallon of water with a tiny straw.  I am glad this option is here, but this detour will not be the best solution for the up to 250,000 cars who travel through this section every day.  I-285 or better yet using mass transit will be the best option.

So, with a major traffic corridor shutdown for months.  I want to talk about two things in the Atlanta Metro where I will say, I told you so!  First off, the Atlanta Braves will soon be playing their games in their brand new Suntrust Park.  The park is in one of the worst traffic chokepoints in the entire southeastern USA, the I-75 / I-285 interchange in NW Atlanta.  I wrote a post explaining why I never liked the new Atlanta Braves stadium location, and now I can smile and nod my head.  Now, with even more traffic that will have to go this way to get to work, go home, or run errands, good luck trying to get to the ballpark!  Why was no major mass transit options planned when this park was in the planning stages?

As for mass transit, Atlanta has a subpar mass transit system.  Sure, there is MARTA but it mostly runs inside the I-285 loop except for a portion of the northern route.  With a lack of commuter rail and major bus options in the Atlanta suburbs, people are now going to be bitten in the rear end for not planning mass transit properly!  What will the political fallout be over this bridge collapse and the lack of good mass transit options like light rail or commuter rail?  One thing is for sure, Atlanta needs more mass transit options, and the people living in the suburbs can get over the poorer people using it and coming to the suburbs!

Well, one can wish that we can just fly over this bridge gap like these just some good ole’ boys.


Roadscapes Wednesday: Downtown Connector Protest / Krog Street Tunnel Protest

Roadscapes Geek Alabama

On this Roadscapes Wednesday post, on a Thursday, I am talking about two big things that happened in the Atlanta Metro on Wednesday evening.  And these were both some big things!  First, let’s talk about why traffic on the I-75/I-85 Downtown Connector was a nightmare.  It was not because of a major wreck, it was because people were on the Interstate.

The people on the Downtown Connector were protesters, and they felt like blocking traffic in Atlanta would get their point across about the Ferguson shootings.  Here is a video from the YouTube channel Sean C who was in the right place in the right time.  The driver got to see the protesters form their human shield on the Interstate.  The video does show some profanity on the banners.

The protesters were not only protesting against the events in Ferguson, Missouri, they were also protesting other events in what they are calling “police brutality.”  The protest is a part of a national week of resistance to mass incarceration and police brutality.   And the police becoming more militarized.  So, blocking one of America’s busiest highways to get a point across about the police being too powerful is what these protesters wanted?  Some people on social media have said if they were in that traffic blockade, they would have run over the protesters.

Yeah, you have a right to free speech in America, it’s our first amendment rights.  But going onto a major Interstate to get your point across was not only dangerous, but wrong!  The police was swarming all over the protesters on the Interstate, and I wish the police would have arrested all of the protesters who were trespassing on GDOT property.  The protesters were with “Black Lives Matter.”  Here are a few tweets from them at the protest.

If that was the only crazy thing happening in the Atlanta Metro on Wednesday evening, you were wrong!  Around 10 pm, another Atlanta area infrastructure landmark was being protested on.  This was at the Krog Street tunnel.  The tunnel is famous for the graffiti and artwork painted on the walls all throughout the tunnel.  Well, if you go to the Krog Street tunnel now, you will only find gray painted walls.

You see, there was a planned event this weekend in the Krog Street tunnel called the  Krog Masquerade.  The event would host 2000 people in a Halloween style event.  Everyone would be required to wear a mask, and tickets were $50 to $100 a ticket!  The folks who do the artwork inside the tunnel did not like the idea of people paying to see their artwork.  In their words, the street art should be free, and people should not make money on the artwork, and it should not be privatized.  So, to get their point across, around 100 people showed up in the tunnel at 10 pm, and within one hour, the entire tunnel got re-painted.

The people whitewashing the tunnel did not want their decor as part of their event, and they made sure the Krog Masquerade would go on without the famous artwork.  As of this writing, there has been no update from the folks putting on the Krog Masquerade.  But the artists accomplished something, that no public artwork is for sale.  Yes, soon there will be more artwork painted on the Krog Street tunnel walls.  The people living in the  Cabbagetown neighborhood not only protested public art being made profitable so some people can make money off of it.  They were also protesting the tunnel being blocked to traffic, the shady practices of the organizers, and the neighborhoods not getting any share of any profit made from the masquerade.

So word to anyone wanting to use public art to make money, don’t do it!  Or people will do anything possible to make sure your event is harmed!  Two big events in one evening in Atlanta Metro, it was some crazy stuff!

Roadscapes Wednesday: Atlanta Georgia Road Scenes

Roadscapes Geek Alabama

Last weekend, as a part of the Toyota Corolla weekend, I took some pictures and video of various road scenes in and around the Atlanta Metro.  The pictures below are from the diverging diamond at Interstate 285 and Ashford Dunwoody Road.  In a diverging diamond, the road traffic reverses and goes to the other side of the road at the interchange.  And traffic was flowing smoothly!  Here are some pictures.

In this video below, you will get to see the diverging diamond, the Georgia 400 toll booths before they are taken down for good, and scenes of the I-75/85 Downtown Connector.  This video is in real-time and is from the Toyota Corolla video from an earlier post, enjoy!

If you have not seen the entire Toyota Corolla experience video, enjoy below!