ATLANTA-- Everyone remembers where they were when a roaring fire caused the collapse of a vital section of metro Atlanta interstate.
It's been one year since the I-85 bridge collapse. For many commuters, the memories are still fresh.
The timing couldn't have been worse. It happened as hundreds of thousands of Atlanta commuters tried to work their way home during what was already a challenging evening rush hour. Drivers near the collapse had to do an about-face on the interstate and exit onto surface streets.
It would take six weeks for a GDOT contractor to rebuild that section of interstate. During that time, commuters were forced to find new routes to work and home.
A vagrant is accused of setting the fire that burned stacks of high-density conduit pipe that GDOT had stored under the bridge. GDOT spokesperson Natalie Dale says that very night, department leaders issued a new policy to eliminate the storage of any similar flammable materials beneath or near roadways.
"We didn't find any flammable materials in other areas statewide," says Dale. "But that doesn't mean it was limited to our state. We shared that knowledge with other states, and they have found some that."
During the six week rebuild, thousands of commuters turned to MARTA. Some continue to use public transportation today.