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The fire that caused the I-85 bridge to collapse was four years ago today

Today marks four years since the massive fire engulfed a bridge on I-85, causing it to collapse near Piedmont Road.

ATLANTA — It’s been four years since a massive fire engulfed I-85 and sent part of it crashing down near Piedmont Road, with massive flames and black plumes of smoke hanging in the air.

The incident began around 6 p.m. on March 30, 2017, but quickly erupted into something more as large flames enveloped the northbound lanes on both sides and dark smoke rose from under the Buford-Spring Connector.

Despite it being one of the busiest thoroughfares in metro Atlanta, no one was hurt. But the damage and destruction crippled Atlanta.

In April 2018, the National Transportation Safety Board deemed that Georgia Department of Transportation was at least possibly responsible for the collapse – due to the decision to store construction materials under the bridge, failing to realize the risk.

It took GDOT crews about 6 weeks to rebuild the interstate. The disaster has become a case example for the Federal Highway Administration to warn other states to not store flammable material under bridges.