GDOT reports around 12,000 people drive across the bridge every day.
SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — GDOT is inspecting the Mt. Vernon Highway bridge and has closed off traffic after it was damaged Wednesday. It may not reopen until next year.
Mike Doss lives near the bridge in Sandy Springs and said that traffic has eased up on the interstate since officials reopened all lanes of I-285. He added delays will continue near his neighborhood.
“Hopefully they can open Mount Vernon up soon, sooner than later, because it’s a major artery here in Sandy Springs,” he said.
And just down the street from Doss, dozens of cars were turning around Thursday afternoon.
“It’s critical. I mean, it’s really the main thoroughfare to get, you know, from the residential area into the city,” Doss said.
GDOT reports around 12,000 people drive across the bridge every day. It says the latest estimated completion date for the new bridge is summer 2024.
“Absent of your Mount Vernon Highway, we end up having to go through people’s neighborhoods, which is never preferred,” Doss said.
The Georgia State Patrol said a tractor-trailer hauling an excavator crashed into the bridge Wednesday afternoon, prompting the “long-term closure.” The driver was cited for weight and height.
“Several of the beams underneath the bridge are damaged,” Sandy Springs Police Department Sgt. Matthew McGinnis said. “You know, small bits of concrete are missing from the from the from the bridge. So it creates a substantial hazard for motorists that wanted to go over the bridge. “
The sergeant said the detours will be in place for a while until the bridge is deemed safe.
“It’s going to back up because this was a major bridge over to 85 within the city. So we just need people to use patience and try to remember that it’s just going to take a little extra time,” he said.
GDOT said it’s evaluating the inspections to determine “when or if” traffic “can be safely restored.” It’s looking into options to advance its timeline.
GDOT full statement
Safety of the traveling public is paramount in all Georgia DOT decisions. After a thorough inspection of the Mt. Vernon bridge over I-285, it was determined that five of six beams impacted by the Sept. 27 strike are of critical nature and require replacement. Upon reviewing a timeline for repairs, including material availability, the department determined the Mt. Vernon bridge will not reopen to vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
Work adjacent to the structure recently began as part of the I-285 Auxiliary Lane project, which includes building a new bridge to replace the current one, which was built in 1962. The latest estimated completion and open to traffic date for the new Mt. Vernon bridge is Summer 2024. However, GDOT is working with the contractor and evaluating all viable options to advance the current project timeline.
Information on that project can be found at https://i285wbauxlanes-gdot.hub.arcgis.com/
Updated information will be added as soon as it becomes available.
GDOT will continue working with the City of Sandy Springs, local stakeholders, and the traveling public to support mobility and safety considering the necessary closure of this important route