An audio version of this story.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel … regarding the I-85 bridge.
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Gov. Nathan Deal made it official Wednesday: The part of the interstate that collapsed in a fire in March will reopen Monday, at the latest.
That’s about a month ahead of schedule.
Atlanta resident David Rucker says he’s not surprised state and local officials made sure fixing the roadway was done as quick as possible.
“They need it,” he said. ”The economic disadvantage to the city. The effects on everybody. It has just been so hard to cope with. They had to do everything they can to get it done.”
The bridge collapse resulted in detours and major congestion throughout parts of metro Atlanta. And that caused problems for some companies, especially ones near the collapse site.
“It’s been tough getting deliveries in and out. Customers, you know, kind of are hesitant about coming to this side of town, so it’s slowed business down a good bit,” said Brian Mobley, who works at the sign shop Briansigns on Cheshire Bridge Road.
Sam Comerford, who works at Johnny’s Pizza on Cheshire Bridge, and she’s thrilled to hear the I-85 bridge project is nearly complete.
“We’re excited to not sit in traffic anymore. We’re excited to get a little more traffic in here again, see business go up again,” she said.
The bridge contractor is set to receive a $3.1 million bonus for finishing the project early. The bill for the entire project is still rising, but has been estimated at at least $16.6 million.
A 39-year-old homeless man, Basil Eleby, is accused of setting the fire that brought the bridge down.
He’s facing a charge of first-degree arson.