Here are answers to your questions about the I-85 bridge collapse

A bridge on I-85 northbound just south of Ga. 400 collapsed Thursday after a fire. (Channel 2 Action News)

A bridge on I-85 northbound just south of Ga. 400 collapsed Thursday after a fire. (Channel 2 Action News)

If you haven’t heard, an elevated section of I-85 in Atlanta collapsed Thursday evening. It’s caused a ton of chaos between school closings and massive traffic jams.

LIVE UPDATES: I-85 repairs to take several months after collapse, fire

For those of you confused about what’s happening, don’t worry about it. We’ve put together a quick roundup of commonly asked questions.

Why did the bridge collapse? 

We still don’t know what exactly caused the collapse, but we do know it wasn’t terrorism, and three suspects have been identified in connection to the fire. Arrest warrants suggest one suspect saw another “place a chair on top of a shopping cart, reach under the shopping cart” and ignite it.

Who are the suspects?

Authorities believe three suspects were at the site under the bridge before the fire: Basil Eleby, Sophia Bruner and Barry Thomas. Eleby was charged with arson Saturday morning and authorities believe he is the one who set the fire.

» RELATED: 5 things to know about the Atlanta I-85 fire suspects 

We also know there was a fire beforehand under the bridge and there is speculation PVC pipes caused it. We don’t know what caused that either. There is speculation it could have been PVC

‘Best bet out of city’: MARTA unaffected by I-85 fire, collapse

Was anyone hurt?  

As of Friday evening, there are no reports of anyone being hurt from the fire or collapse. 

Where is this bridge?  

It’s an elevated section of I-85 near Piedmont Road,  close to Ga. 400

When will it be fixed?  

Georgia DOT officials are estimating the bridge and columns repair will take at least several months. Similar bridge collapses in other cities have taken at least a month to fix. 

Are other bridges at risk?  

Not as far as we can tell. 

Who is paying for the bridge repair?  

The federal government will chip in $10 million for temporary repairs, U.S. Rep. John Lewis told Channel 2 Action News.

What schools and businesses were closed Friday?  

DeKalb County Schools canceled class for Friday. Atlanta Public Schools started on time. The City of Atlanta government offices and the Municipal Court of Atlanta started at 10 a.m. Non-essential DeKalb County government personnel were not required to come to work Friday. Fulton County employees were encouraged to work from home Friday.

Emory, Georgia Tech and Georgia State universities also posted alerts on their websites late Thursday encouraging students and faculty to consider alternate arrangements with their supervisors, instructors and fellow students.

How do I get to work or school now?  

Slowly. Reports from WSB said once I-85 shut down, the side roads became a clogged mess. Plan carefully and telecommute if you can, or consider MARTA. The bridge that collapsed sees more than 190,000 cars daily.

About 10 a.m. Saturday, the Georgia Department of Transportation reopened the Buford Highway exit (also known as Exit 86, the Buford-Spring Connector, and Ga. 13). It’s the first exit on I-85 north of the Downtown Connector split. 

Did this affect the Friday Braves game? 

The Braves announced there would be no changes to their game against the Yankees.

What does this mean for Atlanta businesses? 

It’s going to be rough on the private and public sector.  Goodwill near I-85 and Piedmont Road will be closed indefinitely, according to a tweet Friday from the company.

This kind of traffic jam hurts shipping and many other businesses. AJC writer Scott Trubey wrote a detailed breakdown of what this will mean for the economy.

I was exposed to the smoke. Was it dangerous?  

Exposure to smoke from a fire is never healthy. Avoid it if at all possible. However, the Department of Health said there was “no significant toxicity identified in the smoke.” 

Can I see the moment the bridge collapsed?  

Yes, you can.

Should I take MARTA or the bus instead of driving?  

Depends on your commute. If you’re interested in public transit, we put together a quick guide for MARTA.

MARTA boosts service after I-85 collapse

My question wasn’t answered! 

If you’re still interested in the collapse, check out our list of 7 things to know about the fiery I-85 bridge collapsed. Follow the AJC on Facebook or Twitter for updates. Tweet @ajc or email socialmedia@ajc.com with unanswered questions and we’ll try to help out. 

Why it’s a highlight:

When the bridge collapsed, the breaking news team was on the scene and doing primary coverage. Our Audience team broke the story down into probably 40 smaller pieces that focused on different aspects of the collapse. This piece was in effect a roundup of our other coverage and another way to deliver previously reported content.

I like it because it nails the tone I wanted. Serious, informative and light-hearted where appropriate. Both of my bosses praised the story the next day for the tone.

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Original Story

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