Discover the 3 Most Devastating Bridge Collapses in Georgia

Were you aware that Georgia has seen a number of significant bridge collapses throughout the years? Certain tragedies were caused by construction, collisions, and even arson. There were some significant collapses that fortunately did not result in casualties, but others did. These highways swiftly reopened thanks to rescue and response operations. Long-term building and repairs, however, required several months. In one instance, a brand-new bridge was constructed! Discover which bridge collapses significantly affected Georgia’s roads.

1. 2017 Interstate 85 Bridge Collapse

March 30, 2017 saw the terrible collapse of this bridge due to a fire that started underneath it. For more than 40 days, the bridge was closed, and traffic was rerouted onto other roads. About an hour after the fire began on the night of the collapse, the bridge gave way. The area in Atlanta that was affected was over Piedmont Road. The northern part collapsed about ninety-two feet. Drivers had to stop while firefighters battled the fire. Getting it under control took a another hour. Thankfully, nobody was harmed. The local businesses felt a more marked economic impact. Fewer people visited many shops in the days that followed the collapse. In addition, they had to deal with the area’s ongoing repairs while workers removed debris and reconstructed parts of the bridge.

The I-85 stretch needed to be replaced after the fire. Authorities were also concerned about potential damage to other sections of the road. Three portions in the southbound segment had also been replaced by the conclusion. Three persons were found to have started the fire beneath the bridge, according to investigations, but charges were later dropped in exchange for them finishing programmes for addiction and mental health.

2. 2021 Interstate 20 Bridge Collapse

In Georgia, there was a deadly bridge collapse on Interstate 20. On October 19, 2021, a portion of the bridge fell while construction workers were working on it. The Yellow River was crossed by the bridge. This river, which is 76 miles long, passes through Georgia close to Atlanta before joining the Ocmulgee and South rivers. Three crew members tumbled into the river. The other two were saved, but one perished. A truck and an excavator were among the equipment that tumbled into the river. When the bridge collapsed, workers began taking it apart.

Following the collapse, a massive 500-ton crane aided in the recovery and cleanup process. The apparatus needed to be lifted out of the river. There was a lot of debris left behind after the bridge fell for around 70 feet. The truck, excavator, and further construction equipment found their way into the river beneath the bridge. During the on-site recovery, the massive crane laboured through the night and into the next day. The Yellow River was crossed by a 50-foot-high bridge. Thankfully, it had been closed for the work since the day before. The bridge fall did not endanger motorists, but it did endanger the workers on it. The Atlanta-born crew member that died was 33 years old.

3. 1972 Sidney Lanier Bridge Collapse

When a cargo ship collided with the bridge while passing beneath it, the tragic 1972 bridge collapse happened. The cargo ship struck the bridge instead of passing through the water safely because it was 400 feet off track. The collision claimed the lives of ten people. Regretfully, there were a lot of cars on the bridge at the moment. People and cars tumbled into the Brunswick River below. In May 1987, another cargo ship struck the same bridge. Despite extensive damage, there was no bridge collapse in the second tragedy.

The bridge was replaced by a nearby cable-stayed bridge bearing the same name after these incidents. A vertical-lift bridge was the original Sidney Lanier Bridge. At 7,780 feet, the current Sidney Lanier Bridge is the longest. The new bridge’s construction was completed in 2003, the year it opened, having started in 1995. In addition to being the longest bridge in the state, the new Sidney Lanier Bridge is also the tallest.

Highlights of Bridge Collapses in Georgia

Bridge or Road Date
Interstate 85 March 30, 2017
Interstate 20 October 19, 2021
Sidney Lanier Bridge November 7, 1947