March 31 (UPI) -- A fire sparked by fibrotic cables caused an overpass on heavily traveled I-85 in Atlanta to collapse on Thursday, causing massive traffic delays that are expected to continue for weeks or months to come.
The fire was reported around 6:30 p.m. local time when a fire crew returning from an unrelated call spotted flames shooting some 40 feet in the air from beneath the underpass in DeKalb County north of Atlanta. The flames became so intense an entire section of the bridge collapsed.
There were no injuries, but police closed both directions of the heavily traveled thoroughfare and it will remain that way for the foreseeable future.
The fire caused massive traffic delays Thursday and are expected to snarl traffic until repaired. The section of highway is already subject to heavy rush hour commutes. The Georgia Department of Transportation said upwards of 250,000 vehicles drive on that section of I-85, a major north-south route through the southeastern United States.
No fatalities were reported as a result of the incident.
DeKalb County schools closed Friday as officials scrambled to reroute buses in the area, though Atlanta Public Schools will remain open.
Mayor Kasim Reed called it "as serious a transportation crisis as we could have."
He said the city would look back on its transportation contingencies drafted when it hosted the Summer Olympics in 1996 for help in rerouting traffic with both directions of the collapsed interstate closed.