Students and Teachers Adapt to Closure of I-85 Bridge

Anand S., Staff Writer

Getty Images Erik S. Lesser / Getty Images News / Getty Images / Universal Images Group Rights Managed / For Education Use Only

On Thursday, March 30, catastrophe struck Atlanta, when a 40-foot fire collapsed a bridge on the I-85 highway. This well-traveled section, driven on by over 220,000 cars a day, caused traffic in Atlanta to increase drastically when the interstate closed for repair.

Due to the increased traffic throughout Atlanta, Westminster scheduled a late start day on March 31, in order to enable students and teachers to navigate new routes and reach school on time.

Connor L., an eighth grade student, had trouble getting to school.  He said, “The traffic on 285 that day was horrible. Getting to Westminster and back was extremely frustrating in all of the chaos.”

Laurel Bleich, a math teacher at Westminster, also felt the burden of the extreme traffic. She travels straight down I-85 every morning into the city. “The whole event made me change how I go to work,” she said.

Sidney N. and Sai T. had similar opinions about the traffic on the Friday after the incident. They described the traffic as atrocious in the morning and were thankful for the late start.

Many students and teachers seemed to agree about the fact that traffic on the day after the fire was awful, however some disagreed about remaining effects of the event.

Teja G. still thinks the traffic is worse than usual. He still has trouble getting around Atlanta and has to leave his house earlier to get to school on time.

Like Teja, Ms. Bleich also thinks there is still lots of lingering traffic. She said that for the past few days she has switched from 85 to 285 before the broken section, but she does not quite like that route. Now she takes a new route with more back roads, though this does not save her much time. She even had to leave twenty minutes early to arrive to school on time.

In contrast to William and Ms. Bleich, Sidney thinks the traffic from the fire and collapsed bridge is almost non-existent now. He thinks drivers in Atlanta are adapting to the new routes and traffic is returning to normal.

According to the AJC, the Georgia Department of Transportation predicts the repairs will be completed by June 15.

While some students and teachers still need excess time due to inflated traffic and others have returned to their normal schedules, all of the Atlanta community hopes for the safe and quick repair of the damaged bridge and wishes a crisis like this one will not occur again.