The I-85 collapsed last night in Atlanta, Georgia.

Google, GDOT (Department of Transportation) and other companies have stored conduit under the highway, which somehow caught fire. Since the underside of bridges are typically where homeless people go to shelter, and rain was forecast for the evening (the weather did get nasty just shy of midnight) as a result someone may have been trying to cook dinner over an improvised stove. The GBI and SWAT investigated this as a possible terrorist attack and decided there was no evidence of same.

When plastic in that quantity burns it gives off enormous amounts of black smoke which was visible from anywhere in Atlanta. It also gave off enough heat that the entire six lane highway section collapsed. Miraculously, nobody was hurt. 

What it did mean was yet again Atlanta resembled The Walking Dead's opening montage of dozens of abandoned cars, as people stuck in rush hour traffic suddenly were too far north of any turnoff to get off the road, whereas there were thousands of people in their cars furiously trying to route around it via surface streets.

This is going to be awful for the longest time. The I-85 is a major highway to get through Midtown and Buckhead and to points north in the suburbs of Duluth and Lawrenceville, as well as a corridor from Montgomery, Alabama to Charlotte, North Carolina and beyond. 

Oh, there's the i-285 ring road, and the GA-400 and surface streets, but Atlanta traffic is literally some of the worst in the world. This morning is going to see people trying very hard to take bumper to bumper traffic on every road, from three options down to two.

And the option that got taken out is THE major option with the most cars on it.

Hopefully the Southern Good Old Boys who like "tradition" like "no telecommuting", "no transit" and so forth will be thinking hard about both options.

EDIT: never mind the assaying and the determining how much of the structure has been weakened by fire - after all that is concluded, conservative estimates say it will take months, even perhaps a YEAR to repair.

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