Md. Taking Precautions After Fire, Bridge Collapse In Atlanta

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A fire that brought down a large section of an interstate bridge in Georgia now has Maryland looking under its own bridges.

The search is on for stored materials capable of catching fire and burning.

State Highway crews are out and looking under more than 2,500 state-owned bridges after what happened last week on Interstate 85 in Atlanta, when stored construction materials caught fire and burned so hot, it collapsed a large section of the elevated roadway.

“That’s over 700 feet of bridge that has to be removed and totally rebuilt,” says Russell McMurry, of the Georgia Department of Transportation. It’s going to take months. “That’s no small feat but we’re up to the challenge.”

What happened was a wake-up call for Maryland.

“We want to learn and go out and look at our bridges to make sure we don’t have any of those materials underneath, either, so we can avoid that for Maryland citizens,” State Highway Administrator Gregory Slater says.

Bridges can make for convenient places to tuck things away. Earlier this week, Sky Eye Chopper 13 spotted a number of vehicles parked under the JFX, along with what looked like construction materials next to the light rail yard.

State Highway says it’s not normal procedure to use bridges for storage, but it does happen in some building and maintenance projects.

“Whether you have something stored or a third party will have something stored, whether we know about it or don’t know about it, we just want to go out and take a look at it to be sure,” Slater says.

The process of checking out all 2,500 bridges will take several weeks.

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