The Georgia Dept. of Transportation is increasingly confident that the reconstruction of fire-damaged Interstate 85 in downtown Atlanta will be completed by the agency’s target date of June 15, and for a total cost not to exceed $16.6 million.
GDOT Director of Construction Marc Mastronardi told reporters that the last of 61 prestressed beams fabricated at Standard Concrete Products’ Atlanta and Savannah plants were to be set in place on April 25. Marietta, Ga.-based contractor C.W. Matthews Construction began pouring the first of six deck spans the following day.
“There are a lot of moving parts involved with this project that may affect the end date, but we are impressed with the rate at which work is being done,” Mastronardi said.
GDOT has raced to restore one of Atlanta’s busiest throughways since a March 30 fire in a material storage area caused approximately 700 feet of elevated highway to collapse. Within a week, Matthews Construction had completed site demolition work, at a cost of $1.6 million, and began retrofitting surviving columns for reuse in the new structure, which Mastronardi says will cost $11.9 million to build. GDOT’s contract with Matthews Construction also includes up to $3.1 million in incentives for early completion.
Most of the emergency project’s funding will come from federal sources, with the U.S. Dept. of Transportation having already authorized $10 million in Emergency Relief funds.
GDOT has also temporarily halted most other major highway projects in the Atlanta area in order to minimize effects of the I-85 reconstruction on the area’s notoriously congested traffic network. The agency is also taking advantage of the closure to implement a planned 6.6-mile, $22.9 million resurfacing project on I-85, with an eye to have has much work done as possible before the highway re-opens.
The homeless man accused of starting the fire pled not guilty to charges of arson on April 18. No trial date has been set.