March 30, 2017 Interstate 85 bridge collapse Bridge was not destroyed by terrorists but homeless malicious vandals. day after the bridge collapse police arrested a homeless man, Basil Eleby. They said he set fire to a chair, which ignited the materials under the interstate. Eleby was charged with first-degree arson and criminal damage to property. In December, a judge agreed to let Eleby avoid prosecution if he completed an 18-month remain in a drug treatment program and stay out of jail.
Alternative theory: could a nation state recruit homeless people to destroy a bridge with a fire?
Interstate 85 bridge collapse - Wikipedia
Repair work being done at the collapse site on April 9
|Date||March 30, 2017|
|Time||c. 6:15 p.m. EDT|
|Location||I‑85 in Atlanta, Georgia, United States|
|Property damage||Three sections of northbound I-85 and three sections of southbound I-85 were replaced|
A bridge collapsed on Interstate 85 (I-85) in Atlanta, Georgia, after a massive fire on the evening of March 30, 2017. After the collapse of the 100-foot-long (30 m) section, I-85 was closed to traffic over approximately two miles (3.2 km) between its split with I-75 and the interchange with State Route 400 (SR 400). Three sections of northbound I-85 and three sections of southbound I-85 were replaced by May 13, 2017.
Three individuals were arrested for starting the blaze, which was described by a spokesman for the Atlanta Fire Department as having been "maliciously set". 3 Charged in 'Maliciously Set' Atlanta Highway Fire May Have Been Smoking Crack".
On March 30, 2017, a massive fire underneath a freeway viaduct, I-85 in Atlanta, Georgia, resulted in the collapse of a portion of the viaduct, stranding motorists for miles during rush hour traffic. The fire was allegedly "maliciously set" by a group of three individuals. The area of the collapse was along SR 237 (Piedmont Road) in the Piedmont Heightsneighborhood north of Midtown Atlanta. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed described the situation as a "transportation crisis" that could take days or weeks to resolve, and Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency.
The fire started at approximately 6:15 p.m. in a state-owned storage area under the highway bridge which contained high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes. The heat from the fire caused the collapse of a 100-foot (30 m) section of I-85 northbound at about 7:00 p.m. Fire crews had the blaze under control by about 8:00 p.m.
The highway was closed for an extended period of time in the area. No injuries were reported in the incident, and officials were credited with preventing casualties by stopping traffic and turning away onlookers. Terrorism or foul play was not immediately suspected. It was thought that other sections of the bridge may have been compromised from the heat of the fire. Inspections of the bridge prior to the fire reveal that the deck and superstructure were in good condition. Traffic data shows that both directions of a nearby point in the highway carried nearly a quarter million vehicles a day in 2015.
The closure of the highway put extra strain on surface roads and nearby highways until it was reopened. The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) announced an extension of service in response to the incident. MARTA general manager Keith Parker reported ridership spiked by 25% the day following the collapse. The southbound side of the bridge, which did not collapse, also had to be replaced. Three full sections of the bridge were removed, totalling 350 feet (110 m). The incident had a devastating effect on many area businesses, one of which reported a 90% decrease in traffic, seeing only three to four customers for the remainder of the day of the fire and the day following.
Two weeks after the bridge collapse, President Donald Trump met with the first responders from the incident, commending them for preventing casualties following the bridge collapse. Trump agreed to send $10 million dollars to the state of Georgia to assist in repairs and cleanup efforts.
Arrests and prosecutions
On March 31, officials arrested and charged three individuals in connection with the incident. Basil Eleby was charged with criminal trespassing and first-degree criminal damage to property for setting the fire, and two others were charged with criminal trespassing for being present when the fire was set. All three were believed to be homeless, though it was unclear whether they lived underneath the highway. The three were interrogated and taken to Fulton County jail, with the possibility of additional or upgraded charges as more evidence is developed. The charges against Eleby were later upgraded to first-degree arson, with his bail set at $200,000. An arrest affidavit indicated the three suspects went under the bridge to smoke crack. Eleby denied setting the fire, but one of the other suspects arrested said he watched Eleby put a chair on top of a shopping cart near some fiber optic wire, stored in PVC pipes under the bridge, and set the chair on fire. Eleby appeared in court on August 14, 2017.
Repairs and detours
GDOT officials announced on April 4, 2017, that repairs could be completed by mid-June 2017. Traffic was diverted to I-285, I-75 and SR 400. In an effort to speed completion, up to $3 million in incentive payments were authorized for the contractor, which completed work by May 12, when the northbound lanes of the bridge reopened. In August 2017, a fence was built around the underpass near where the bridge collapsed.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Judd, Alan (March 31, 2017). "Breaking: 3 in Custody in Connection with I-85 Fire, Bridge Collapse". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on April 1, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Wootson, Cleve R., Jr. (April 1, 2017). "3 Charged in 'Maliciously Set' Atlanta Highway Fire May Have Been Smoking Crack". The Washington Post. Archivedfrom the original on April 2, 2017. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Johnson, Alex (March 30, 2017). "Bridge Collapses in Atlanta Freeway Fire During Rush Hour". NBC News. Archived from the original on March 31, 2017. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Hanna, Jason; Karimi, Faith; Almasy, Steve (April 1, 2017). "I-85 Collapse: Three Arrested After Major Fire Under Atlanta Highway". CNN. Archived from the original on April 1, 2017. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Buchanan, Christopher (March 30, 2017). "Portion of I-85 Collapses in Massive Fire". Atlanta, GA: WXIA-TV. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
- Jump up^ Eldridge, Ellen; Habersham, Raisa (March 31, 2017). "I-85 Collapses After Massive Fire: 'The Entire Bridge Is Compromised'". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on March 31, 2017. Retrieved March 31,2017.
- Jump up^ Peebles, Jennifer (March 31, 2017). "Last Inspection on I-85 Bridge that Collapsed Given Good Marks". Atlanta, GA: WSB-TV. Archived from the original on March 31, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
- Jump up^ Belcher, Richard (April 3, 2017). "MARTA Faces New Trial with I-85 Bridge Collapse". Atlanta, GA: WSB-TV. Archived from the original on April 8, 2017. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
- Jump up^ "Bridge Collapse: GDOT Says It Will Take 'Several Months' to Rebuild I-85". Atlanta, GA: WSB-TV. March 31, 2017. Archived from the original on March 31, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
- Jump up^ Carr, Nicole (April 1, 2017). "Business Owners Concerned About 'Devastating' Impact of I-85 Collapse". Atlanta, GA: WSB-TV. Archived from the original on April 2, 2017. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
- Jump up^ Hallerman, Tamar (April 13, 2017). "Trump Meets with First Responders from Atlanta's I-85 Bridge Collapse". Political Insider. The Atlanta Journal-Constition. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
- Jump up^ Winne, Mark (March 31, 2017). "Bridge Collapse: 3 Charged in Connection with I-85 Fire". Atlanta, GA: WSB-TV. Archived from the original on April 1, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
- Jump up^ "Man Charged in I-85 Bridge Collapse Appears in Court". Atlanta , GA: WAGA-TV. August 14, 2017. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
- Jump up^ Elliot, Richard (April 4, 2017). "Completion of Collapsed I-85 Could Be Completed by Mid-June". Atlanta, GA: WSB-TV. Archived from the original on April 4, 2017. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
- Jump up^ "One Day Later, We Still Don't Know What Caused Atlanta's I-85 Bridge Fire". USA Today. March 31, 2017. Archived from the original on April 4, 2017. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
- Jump up^ Wickert, David (May 12, 2017). "I-85 Northbound Lanes Reopen in Atlanta". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on May 13, 2017. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
- Jump up^ Habersham, Raisa (August 18, 2017). "Fence built around I-85 bridge collapse site to prevent trespassing". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved September 5,2017.