Two sections the size of a football field will have to be replaced on Interstate 85 in Atlanta, just north of campus, because of the fire and road collapse on Thursday, March 30. Officials say it will take “several months” to complete.
Lauren Stewart has a professional engineering license in civil engineering with a structural focus. Her research area is hazards engineering of structures, such as fire, blast and wind.
Any time you have a high heat source the interstate fire, you see material properties — especially for steel — degrade. Especially when the fire burns for a long duration. That's what can happen in buildings and bridges. It’s what happened to the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. As the materials degrade, it weakens the ability to carry loads.
As far as what happens next, we’ll see coordination on investigations about the cause of the fire on the federal and state agency side. We’ll also see coordination with engineers to determine the level and extent of the damage.
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