ATLANTA - A portion of Piedmont Road in Buckhead reopened early Wednesday after crews made critical repairs to the reconstruction of the Interstate 85 overpass.
UPDATE Piedmont Rd opened an hour and 15 minutes before scheduled. Was closed to bring beams to I85 collapse site pic.twitter.com/vcfZ6V6Q0x— Kaitlyn Pratt Fox 5 (@Fox5Kaitlyn) April 26, 2017
The stretch of Piedmont Road had been closed off since 9 a.m. Tuesday to make way for work on the concrete beams near the I-85 collapse site. From here, crews are expected to pour concrete.
The road reopened at 7:45 a.m. Wednesday, an hour and 15 minutes ahead of schedule.
Marc Mastronardi, the Director of Construction for the Georgia Department of Transportation, told reporters that crews have reached a major milestone.
"It's very promising as we stand here today [Tuesday]. I'm very excited to tell you that we will start pouring the concrete for those beam spans tomorrow [Wednesday] night," said Mastonardi.
Mastronardi credits the efforts of round the clock construction crews for keeping the project on schedule.
"There's about 45 people working at night and 40 working in the day," he said.
GDOT has its own staff on site as well to perform ongoing inspections to ensure we're meeting plan requirements," Mastronardi said. "In terms of progress, I couldn't be happier."
It has been three weeks since a raging fire under the I-85 overpass led to a catastrophic collapse of north and southbound lanes over Piedmont Road. No one was injured. Demolition began almost immediately with a tab just calculated at $1.6 million, according to Mastronardi. He said the cost to rebuild and repave the 750 feet of interstate overpass is $11.9 million. Coupled with $3 million in incentives, he said the final cost will be approximately $16 million, which includes support from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
While it is hard to put a price tag on the toll this project has taken on commuters who have learned to sit through and maneuver around the closed section of interstate, GDOT officials promise the end is near.
"As we look forward to where we are headed on this, I feel very confident in saying that June 15 is the latest this bridge will be completed. We very well could see something a little sooner than that," Mastronardi said as he stood just a few yards from the construction site.