ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Transportation says the rebuilt Interstate 85 bridge should be completed in just 10 weeks.
The Director of Construction said the completion of the bridge is set for mid-June.
GDOT and other transportation officials held a news conference Tuesday morning providing updates on the work to repair the busy interstate section.
The first estimates had repairs taking anywhere from three to six months. Officials now say it could be open by June.
Atlanta police arrested a man and charged him with setting a fire under the overpass Thursday that destroyed nearly 700 feet of interstate and threw the entire metro Atlanta traffic system into chaos.
Through some waivers and incentives, they say they’re able to streamline the process and get this construction project moving.
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“I understand there's a great desire to know when this will be repaired. It is our expectation that the bridge will be reopened in fewer than 10-weeks or say, June 15th,” said GDOT’s director of construction Marc Mastronardi. “That's in large part due to that collaborative effort that began early Thursday evening and most especially over the course of the weekend.”
Officials said demolition work at the site is about 80 percent complete.
GDOT found the original plans from when the section of overpass was first built in 1984, but they will use updated construction techniques to rebuild the bridge. The updates will cut down on the construction time.
"We could have rebuilt this original design, but the time for beam fabrication for these non-standard beams would have been lengthy," said GDOT chief engineer Meg Pirkle.
They will use a faster setting, but expensive concrete to finish the job.
GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry praised Atlanta commuters for their patience while the massive project gets finished.
"We're so grateful for people making adjustments, changing their travel patterns, changing their work if they can, teleworking, and of course, taking transit options," he said.
GDOT news conference on I-85 construction
GDOT officials give updates on the construction timeline for I-85 after the fiery collapse: 2wsb.tv/2oxOW1H --Posted by WSB-TV on Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Breaking: GDOT hopes to have I-85 reopened by June 15th. pic.twitter.com/hVB1vD2HKz— Richard Elliot (@RElliotWSB) April 4, 2017
Director of Construction: 85 percent done with demolition, should be done tomorrow -- WATCH LIVE: https://t.co/S7bpyd80pH pic.twitter.com/9ICH6ggGim— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) April 4, 2017
GDOT officials: We assessed our other bridges, there are no other locations with the same materials stored -- LIVE: https://t.co/S7bpyd80pH pic.twitter.com/1g3c6zBbHu— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) April 4, 2017
Crews hard at work on I-85 bridge construction https://t.co/Fw7dBvV5Ip @AudreyWSBTV has a live look at the progress on Ch. 2 at 6:44 a.m. pic.twitter.com/7eatp36lMR— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) April 5, 2017
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