GDOT: I-85 To Be Reopened By Mid-June Or Earlier

Georgia Department of Transportation officials will offer financial incentives to contractors to meet interim deadlines and have the I-85 bridge repair done by June 15.
Credit Ali Guillory / WABE
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The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) said the Interstate 85 overpass will be rebuilt by June 15th, about 10 weeks from now.

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GDOT said it has hired contractor CW Matthews to handle the reconstruction. The company helped rebuild a portion of I-285 in 2001, when a gasoline tanker truck collided with two small cars and shut down four lanes of the elevated bypass. Because the company helped with that project years ago, GDOT said they have confidence CW Matthews will be helpful with this project as well. 

They’ll pay bonuses to the contractor to finish construction quickly, according to GDOT’s Director of Construction Mark Mastronardi.

“Our approach to that will be to look at, what we think is, an aggressive, but achievable completion date inside of that mid-June date and reward the contractor for doing so,” he said. “We would look for additional daily increases to complete work even earlier still.”

The transportation agency could also penalize the contractor for not finishing the work on time. Though details on how they’ll do that have not been released, they have assembled a 30-person team to monitor demolition and construction around the clock to make sure shortcuts aren’t taken that could compromise the safety of the repairs. 

The Department had stored fiberglass and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) conduits under the bridge since 2011, officials said. HDPE is commonly used to make milk jugs. And these conduits were basically wiring covered in HDPE plastic. 

“The material was stored on state property, behind a fence,” McMurray said. “The area was breached by an individual or individuals who allegedly trespassed on state property, as with the devastating outcome we are now dealing with.”