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Atlanta’s I-85 bridge collapse brings unwanted, international attention

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These last few days, publications across the country have had much to say; Brits call situation a ‘transportation crisis’

An excavator tearing away concrete from the bridge.
Demolition underway on the damaged bridge.
GDOT

Since Thursday evening’s collapse of Interstate 85 at Piedmont Road, media coverage in Atlanta has focused on the fire, three arrests surrounding the incident, and the anticipated traffic nightmare expected during months of repairs.

While Twitter was quickly flooded with snark-tastic memes and hashtags about the event, the global media also picked up on the fantastical images of flames shooting from the crevasse where the interstate had stood. After all, sensationalism sells.

Here’s a roundup of some coverage our fellow Americans—and others around the world—saw over the last few days:

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USA Today ran an article entitled "Driving in Atlanta is going to be bonkers for a few months," in which the collapse was referred to as "a life-changer." According to the piece, Atlantans can expect an uptick in accidents over the next few months as commuters will be traversing roads they’re not used to.

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The day after the collapse, Wired offered its perspective on how to get things back to normal as quickly as possible in a piece "How to Rebuild Atlanta’s Collapsed Freeway. Like, Now," using similar disasters around the world as test cases. Turns out money is going to be a key factor in making this problem go away.

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Across the Pond, the Daily Mail ran a series of articles on the incident, including "Atlanta bridge collapse sparks ‘transportation crisis,’" highlighting our seeming ill-preparedness for the pending traffic debacle. It was undoubtedly a good read over crumpets and tea.

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On Sunday, ABC News reported on the swift cleanup happening at the collapse site, heralding "Atlanta traffic horror: Crews razing fallen highway overpass." The article took a dig at Atlanta’s transportation infrastructure, or lack thereof, noting "there are surprisingly few alternative routes" to navigate around the closed section of interstate.

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Arguably, one of the most interesting reads is a New York magazine piece, which builds off a case made by Vox that asks who’s to blame for lackluster transportation infrastructure that will only heighten the collapse’s impact. Turns out the foundation for the flawed freeway system can be tied back to the obscene amount of counties the state has.

A charred speed limit sign on the Buford-Spring Connector.
GDOT

In the coming days, as the media buzz dies down, Atlanta will settle into a new normal. While the replacement of the bridge will cease to be a news feature flashed around the globe, for hundreds of thousands of Atlantans, it’ll remain a major obstacle in daily life.