Gov. Deal: Collapsed I-85 bridge to reopen next week

Traffic is bumper to bumper as people scrambled to find alternate routes on Friday, March 31, 2017. Many commuters in some of Atlanta's densely populated northern suburbs will have to find alternate routes or ride public transit for the foreseeable future after a massive fire caused a bridge on Interstate 85 to collapse Thursday, completely shutting down the heavily traveled highway. (AP Photo/Alex Sanz)

ATLANTA (AP) – Georgia officials say a section of a heavily used Atlanta interstate will reopen at the latest by next week, less than two months after it collapsed due to a large fire under a bridge.

Gov. Nathan Deal and state transportation officials announced Wednesday that the bridge will be open by the Monday morning rush hour.

Officials have said the bridge reconstruction will cost up to $16.6 million, most of which is expected to be covered by the federal government.

An estimated 250,000 drivers use the stretch of Interstate 85, which has been closed since the March 30 collapse. Drivers were forced to use other congested routes or transit systems.

A multimillion-dollar bonus for the contractor motivated quick work on the project. State transportation officials initially estimated they wouldn’t reopen the highway until June.

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