ATLANTA -- Just when you think you've become a pro at planning your routes to minimize traffic issues, the universe threw Atlanta another problem.
When you live in the 10-largest transportation network in the country, you expect some road and traffic problems. But Metro-area drivers have seen a lot of road and traffic issues in the last two weeks and that has everyone asking – what exactly is going on?!
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“I don't know if there's something going on in the cosmos and the universe or something's got an eye for Atlanta, but this is peculiar indeed,” Loukia Andrea Shirlikov told 11Alive Tuesday.
Metro Atlantans haven't gotten much of a break since the I-85 bridge inferno and subsequent collapse on March 30. Since then, it’s been one thing after another.
After I-85 collapsed:
- A railroad trestle fire broke out near Cheshire Bridge Road
- Another fire burned under a bridge on Buford Highway
- A crash and chemical spill shut down the Downtown Connector during rush hour
- A piece of I-20, a route many have been using as a detour since the Interstate collapse, buckled and sent a motorcycle flying
All of the traffic-related incidents has many drivers holding their breath, and taking to social media to vent about it.
“With the way it's been going, I'm pretty much expecting a bridge or something else to happen next,” Sam Strickland told 11Alive’s Faith Abubey.
A spokesman for the Georgia Department of Transportation said officials are just as perplexed as drivers over the timing of these road issues, none of which he said GDOT could have predicted.
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“It certainly seems like we've had our fair share of situations with our roadways the last few weeks, for certain,” Scott Higley said. “There will be accidents on the roadway, there will be overturned tractor trailers and unfortunately it's the reality of our transportation system. But being able to quickly clean up those sites and make sure we can reopen those roadways to traffic is one of the key goals of the department.”
So far, GDOT has had their hands full doing just that. Much of the road incidents were resolved within hours, and officials said I-85 is on track to be finished ahead of schedule. Drivers are noticing.
“I think they are doing a great job fixing it,” Strickland said.
While the progress on I-85 is certainly good news, traffic could still continue to be a problem even after it's opened again. However, GDOT said it has a major project underway to ease these traffic issues.
Over the next 10 years, the state will roll out 11 major projects to address congestion on metro Atlanta and state roads, including managed lanes like toll roads and express lanes. GDOT told 11Alive it should start breaking ground on these projects in the next few months. The transportation agency said the projects had been in the works for a while, but the recent problems really highlighted the need.