ATLANTA – Crews from contractor C.W. Matthews were in the right place at a time of disaster when the I-85 bridge collapsed.
Company president Dan Garcia says employees were nearby, working on a different project on the very same interstate when the call came from the Georgia Department of Transportation.
“We mobilized forces, and by the next day, we had begun the demolition,” says Garcia.
What has followed is unprecedented. Removing the damaged sections of interstate and rebuilding it all within two months has required near flawless coordination
“We pulled crews from other projects at times,” says Garcia. “We've had seven bridge crews during the day. Six at night.”
Garcia tells 11Alive’s Commuter Dude some of the materials used in the I-85 rebuild are different from materials used in a typical bridge construction. For example, it commonly takes two weeks for the concrete decking to cure, but the concrete mixture used on the bridge rebuild strengthens in three days.
It's is more expensive.
“It's as safe as in any other project, if not more,” says Garcia. “We've taken precautions.”
The columns used to support the bridge involve a concrete mixture used that cured and strengthened in 24-hours. A team of GDOT inspectors have tested the concrete repeatedly to insure its integrity.
“No concerns from an integrity standpoint,” says Garcia. “We feel confident.”
Key pieces of the concrete puzzle didn’t have to travel far to get to the bridge. Most of the 61 beams used were made right here in metro-Atlanta. A few came from Savannah.
Once the job here is complete, resources pulled from other projects will return to the work they were doing before the fall. Garcia is confident those other projects will not suffer delays.
Photos | Go inside the I-85 bridge reconstruction
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