I-20 reopens after air pocket 'blow out' rips through surface

It's taking no time at all for the road that buckled on I-20 to get repaired.

All lanes on I-20 westbound reopened Tuesday morning after a "blow out" caused the interstate to buckle late Monday morning.

Capt. Eric Jackson with DeKalb County Fire said Atlanta Gas Light crews were working on filing an abandoned gas pipe running under I-20 between Candler and Gresham Monday morning. He said it wasn't a gas explosion, but air and concrete pressure eventually broke through the road surface. Jackson called the road failure a "once in a lifetime experience."

When the pressure broke through the surface, the road was ripped apart, sections of concrete pushed into the air.

PHOTOS: I-20 buckles

A motorcycle and car traveling along I-20 hit that section of road and went airborne. The motorcyclist landed about 200 feet from the road failure and was transported to the hospital in critical condition. The car traveled about 15 feet before landing back on the ground. Amazingly, that driver was not injured. 

Monique Burston was right there when the road buckled and the motorcycle went airborne. "I saw it rise up like a tombstone coming out of the ground," she told 11Alive's Duffie Dixon Monday night. 

"I was coming off of 20 and the motorcycle guy, he was riding over and the motorcycle threw him up like 10 feet in the air."

Laura Creekmur, a spokesperson for Atlanta Gas Light, said they are aware of the situation and currently investigating.  She stressed that the incident was not natural gas related.

All lanes were closed for several hours while crews assessed the damage, GDOT said.

Two right lanes had reopened around 4:35 p.m. Monday Dale said that crews were checking out the lanes adjacent to the damage to make sure they were safe to re-open.

Dale said the incident does not indicate "widespread crumbling infrastructure," saying it was a "stroke of bad luck." She said that Atlanta has the 10th largest transportation network in the nation, and there are utilities deep under roads throughout the city. 

INTERACTIVE MAP | Check backups here

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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