ATLANTA– Atlanta’s running out of interstates.
The metropolitan area is served by four interstates. Last month, a five-lane section of one collapsed during rush hour and took part of that highway out of commission.
Monday afternoon, things just got worse. Way worse.
A section of another interstate buckled due to an underground gas leak, and now a portion of that freeway is shut down too.
Atlantans, ever-reliant on their cars for even the shortest of errands, are now down to two undamaged interstates — and one major headache.
An underground gas leak
Here are the details as we know them:
Officials shut down all lanes of the westbound section of I-20 on Monday morning after a gas leak caused the concrete road to give way.
DeKalb County spokesman S.R. Fore told CNN that crews were pressure testing the empty gas pipe with air when a leak caused the air to push upward and damage the road.
The pictures are jaw-dropping. It looks like the Hulk tried to punch through the road.
“What a coincidence, another highway decided to explode,” wrote Lidia Debas on Instagram, next to a photo of the damaged road. “I wonder what route I’m going to take now.”
Police said a motorcyclist hit the buckle and was thrown off, but they didn’t know how severe his injuries were.
“I was driving and a man told me the motorcyclist flew over it and wrecked,” motorist Lisa Pangborn William told CNN.
Crews immediately diverted traffic to I-285. That, if you’re keeping count, is one of two interstates fully functioning.
The other damaged highway
I-285 is already straining under the weight of the additional cars it’s had to take on since March 30 since a section of I-85 collapsed after a fire broke out under it.
Interstate 85 is a major artery. And Atlantans were slowly beginning to adjust to their new commuting reality when the I-20 incident happened.
Now, many of them will have to revise their plans all over again.