State testing bolts, concrete in 17th Street fence collapse

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ATLANTA,None — Channel 2 Action News obtained documents on Thursday outlining the steps investigators are taking to determine why fencing along the 17th Street Bridge in midtown Atlanta broke free and fell on the highway below.

A 170-foot section of the railing and fencing along the bridge came loose and crashed onto Interstate 75 late on the night of Aug. 13. Georgia Department of Transportation crews have since removed the remaining fencing.

Paperwork Channel 2 Action News received after an open records request outlined how the bridge was constructed and inspected, what inspectors are looking for and the cost of replacing the fencing.

The DOT suspects a bolt came loose, making the fence give way like a zipper opening. Some bolts were pulled out of the concrete. Others were sheared off.

The state is now paying a consulting company based in Duluth, Ga. to investigate because there are similar fences on other bridges, including the 14th Street Bridge.

Documents show the state has paid the consulting firm $71,000 to test bolts, concrete, epoxy and other materials used to construct the bridge. The firm is also reviewing the bridge design and construction.

The contractor, C.W. Matthews maintains that there was not a construction issue.

"The construction is so heavily inspected every step of the way. I am extremely confident that's no issue relative to the construction," CEO Bill Hammack told Channel 2 Action News in August.

Samples from the collapsed fence have been sent to Chicago for testing which could take two months, according to the documents.