Repair timetable unknown following I-85 bridge collapse in Atlanta

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An overpass on Interstate 85 in northeast Atlanta collapsed Thursday evening following a large fire that broke out underneath the bridge. Three have reportedly been arrested for starting the fire.

All lanes of I-85 northbound and southbound are closed indefinitely from the downtown connector to Georgia Highway 4o0. While most trucks are required to use I-285 to go around the city, the closure of one of the main thoroughfares out of Atlanta will cause backups on other routes, according to Georgia 511.

A report from Atlanta news station WSB-TV says traffic heading into the city from I-85 south will be detoured onto I-285, and the Georgia DOT is encouraging people to use I-75 and I-20 to get into the downtown and midtown areas.

Georgia DOT Commissioner Russell R. McMurry said in an update Friday morning that both directions of the interstate will have to be fully replaced at the site of the collapse. McMurry added that the DOT does not yet have a timeframe for the repairs to be made, but said he expects it to be “a time consuming event.”

The area that caught fire was part of the state’s right of way under the bridge, according to McMurry, and was used to store construction materials, equipment and supplies such as PVC piping.

The cause of the fire is unknown, and no injuries were reported from the collapse. The FBI has said criminal activity was not the cause of the fire, according to WSB-TV.