I-85 Bridge Collapse and Rebuild



On March 30, 2017, a massive fire caused a section of Interstate 85 (I-85) in Atlanta to collapse. After the fire was extinguished, it was determined that 700 feet of both the northbound and southbound lanes required demolition and reconstruction, resulting in the closure of a critical stretch of highway which normally carries 243,000 vehicles per day.

In the immediate aftermath of the fire and collapse and during the six weeks that followed, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and associated agencies carried out a number of successful strategies to provide the traveling public with safe and reliable travel alternatives, many of them within the discipline of transportation systems management and operations (TSMO). Due to these efforts, as well as the leadership decisions of the department and state government, the bridge was rebuilt within just six weeks of collapse, more than a month ahead of schedule.

TSMO Strategies Deployed included:

  • Emergency Response and Traffic Incident Management
  • Inter-agency Collaboration
  • Active Traffic Management
  • Knowledge Transfer
  • Traveler Information
  • Telecommunications

Additionally, an incentive program for the rebuild allowed the contractor to deploy teams for 24 hours a day and resulted in an accellerated rebuild that was estimated to save Georgia travelers $27 million in lost time and productivity.

Operations Area of Practice

  • Active Traffic Management (ATM)
  • Freeway Management
  • Business Processes/Policies and Procedures
  • Communicating Reliability Information
  • TSMO Culture
  • Traffic Incident Management
  • Work Zone Management
  • Continuity of Operations
  • Infrastructure Protection
  • Recovery
  • Resilience

Organizational Capability Element

  • Programming/Budget/Funding
  • Active Traffic Management/Travel Demand Management/Pricing
  • Emergency Transportation Operations
  • Traveler Information
  • Leadership/Championship
  • Local government/MPO/RTPA cooperation
  • Outsourcing/PPP

Content Type

  • Case Studies & Lessons Learned

Publishing Organization

  • NOCoE


  • Justification
  • Learning

Document Downloads

Issue Date
August 27th, 2018
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