Georgia highway collapse puts damper on weekend travel and commerce

Crews work on a section of an overpass that collapsed from a large fire on Interstate 85 in Atlanta, Friday, March 31, 2017. Many commuters in some of Atlanta's densely populated northern suburbs will have to find alternate routes or ride public transit for the foreseeable future after a massive fire caused a bridge on Interstate 85 to collapse Thursday, completely shutting down the heavily traveled highway. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

WACO, Ga. (WIAT) — People from Alabama with plans in Atlanta are bracing for major traffic trouble this weekend, after a portion of Interstate 85 collapsed in a fire Thursday.

Staff at Georgia’s Interstate 20 welcome center told CBS 42 that their day was extremely busy, as they helped people passing through map out detours around the destruction.

“They were prepared for us to come in and ask,” said Bonnye Johnson, who was headed from Tuscaloosa to Atlanta, to take pictures of her granddaughter before her prom. “They already had maps ready for you, so I don’t think we’ll be affected this time. We’ll get there on time.”

Kenneth and Kathleen Camp, of Homewood, planned their trip to the Georgia Aquarium with their son, Jay, weeks ago.

After mapping out detours, Kenneth Camp said he still expected major traffic delays, but his family was prepared.

“We have lots of snacks and lots of things to do for our son in the back seat,” he said.

Other drivers weren’t as lucky.

Julie Medders was traveling with a crew from Cullman to North Carolina, escorting two large halves of a double-wide trailer.

“Basically, we’re in trouble,” Medders said.  “The routes that they want the cars and other trucks to take, we’re too wide for.”

When CBS 42 spoke with Medders, she and her crew were waiting for instructions on how to proceed with their delivery.

“We don’t know (what to do),” she said. “It’s totally screwing everybody up.”

The Alabama Department of Transportation has offered Georgia transportation officials assistance in rebuilding the road, which is expected to take months.

The cause of the fire that led to the collapse is still under investigation.

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