Additional Road Problems For Atlanta Drivers
At the end of March, the I-85 span over Piedmont Road collapsed. The repercussions from that shocking event are felt by motorists in the Atlanta metropolitan area all day, every day. The I-85 collapse is certainly the most publicized roadway failure and an event with which most people have had to encounter in some capacity since the road gave way. The I-85 fire and collapse is not the only road failure Atlanta motorists have encountered. Other road problems like a chemical spill on the Downtown Connector after a tractor trailer rolled over and a crack in the road that bubbled up on I-20 after a construction incident damaged the road within two weeks after I-85 fell.
Now, another road problem with potentially devastating consequences surfaced around the same time as the chemical spill and I-20 road damage occurred. A sinkhole opened up under 5th Street between Cypress and West Peachtree in Midtown Atlanta. Officials immediately closed the road And it is had remained closed since April.
The sinkhole opened up around noon causing traffic delays and motorists searching for detours around the intersection. The problem left officials scrambling to figure out why the hole opened up. Water system officials conducted a series of dye tests designed to determine whether there were any leaks in the water pipes in the area. The test results were negative. Other infrastructure tests were scheduled to try to figure out why the huge hole opened up in the road.
City officials recently stated that 5th Street should be reopened to traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian, within a couple of weeks. The entire project will not be completed for another four weeks.
City transportation workers tore up the asphalt and dug up the area trying to discover a cause of the sinkhole. No reason has been determined up to this point. Contrast Atlanta's Public Works Department's efforts to repair the 5th Street sinkhole with the problem that occurred on I-20 Westbound and how the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) handled that problem. On I-20, a motorcyclist suffered severe injuries when he was thrown off of his motorcycle after hitting the sinkhole. Another vehicle struck the road abnormality which went from a hole to a cracked mound of asphalt. Law enforcement officers and GDOT officials closed the highway in both directions for a period of time. They were able to re-open the eastbound lane of I-20 after a short closure. I-20 westbound remained closed overnight.
GDOT immediately began an investigation into the incident. GDOT learned that a utility company had a crew working underground in the area. They learned that a crew working for the utility company pumped an excessive amount of fluid into pipes which escaped from the unit and buckled the road.
GDOT understood they needed to reopen the highway as soon as possible and they went to work. GDOT emergency crews excavated the road to remove and replace the pipes running below the road. Crews then needed to replace the pipes, fill the hole, and then pour concrete. The concrete set overnight. GDOT crews put down temporary lane striping so that they could reopen I-20 as soon as possible in time for the heaviest period of the morning commute. GDOT crews returned later that night to replace the temporary lane markings with permanent lines.
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