Busy Atlanta road could be closed for up to a year after bridge fire

ATLANTA — Parts of Cheshire Bridge Road could be closed for at least a year after a bridge underneath the road caught on fire earlier this month.

Josh Rowan, commissioner for Atlanta Department of Transportation, gave an update on the recovery plan during a city council meeting Wednesday.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

Rowan said his department is planning for the worst case scenario.

“Which would be a total demolition and rebuild of the bridge. Based on the information we have at this time, ballpark estimate for demolishing the bridge, designing a bridge and rebuilding a bridge at best is one year. That does not account for any significant weather delays,” he said.


An intense fire broke out and burned for several hours underneath the bridge on Aug. 4 into the morning of Aug. 5.

Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon spent Thursday at the scene, where he found a barbecue grill right where the fire started. So far officials said they still don’t know if that was the cause, but this investigation goes on.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Rowan said the site was so hazardous that his team couldn’t perform an adequate assessment.

“In fact, we are still unable to put people underneath that bridge. We are looking at what other means for bridge evaluation,” Rowan said.

Atlanta City Councilmember Matt Westmoreland asked Rowan about the bridge closure compared to the infamous Interstate 85 bridge fire in 2017. He said it is a case of apples and oranges.

“There are some key differences with our project. We are anticipating a total loss. That means we will also have to remove the bridge structures and foundation. Once we do that, we are looking at a total rebuild,” Rowan said.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]