An Alternative Perspective on the I-85 Bridge Collapse

Posted by Richard Lawson | Apr 04, 2017 | 0 Comments

The I-85 Bridge collapse will go down as the worst traffic disaster in Atlanta history, making the nightmare of “Snowmageddon” seem like a day at the beach. Traffic in Atlanta will be affected for the next foreseeable future. Who is going to take responsibility for this traffic nightmare? It will certainly not be the State government. In fact, the State government is going to point the finger at three homeless men living under the bridge; yet, we will never even address why, in the most prosperous nation on earth, we have people living under a bridge.

People inherently want to access blame when a problem happens. The truth is that is far easier to blame these homeless people than to look to who is actually to blame, which is the government.

We will all hear about how wonderful the government is over the next few months as they fix the collapsed bridge. Outside of the immediate response of the firemen and police officers, who did a remarkable job putting out the fire and saving lives, the government has utterly failed us.

We will hear about the Georgia Department of Transportation and Georgia Emergency Management Association working around the clock to help the community during our hardest hour. We will hear about how quickly they fixed the bridge. We will hear about how regulations were waived to get the job done (the same regulations that stifle businesses when they want to expand).

Listen carefully. There will be no mention of why the flammable material was stored under the bridge for years in the first place. There will be no hearings of any kind; no one from the State government will be questioned as to the poor lack of judgment in storing combustible material under one of the most traveled roadways on planet earth! No one from the State will take responsibility for allowing a growing homelessness problem to flourish in Atlanta. All the blame will be placed on three pathetic men because of our disgusting need to place blame.

If this were ExxonMobil whose tanker blew up under the I-85 Bridge, there would be congressional hearings; there would be environmental impact studies; there would be executives fired after being hauled before Congress to testify. I can also promise you someone would be required to take responsibility. Here, there will be no accountability. Not a single person from the State government will be held responsible for their poor decision-making for allowing the flammable material to be stored under the most important bridge in the Southeastern United States. No one will lose their job. In fact, because of the “great job” they will do in response to their mistakes, people will get promoted.

This is the same thing we deal with when police officers come to court and lie or over embellish the truth. There is never accountability or any investigation. Police officers are not questioned when they lie to an accused about their sixth amendment right to an attorney, or their fifth amendment right to silence. This is the same thing we see here; there is never an investigation into the State Government Affairs.

Our representatives work for the people. Why are we letting them skirt responsibility in this disaster? Atlanta traffic will be horrendous for months. Millions upon millions of dollars will be spent on demolishing and rebuilding the bridge.

Are the three men arrested in connection with the fire guilty? Only time will tell. There are two things we do know: Had the government not been storing flammable pipes and chemicals under the bridge, we would not be in this terrible situation. Had we not allowed the homeless to live under a bridge and had found these people a safe place to live, this would not have happened.

This situation is horrific, chaotic and will affect most Atlanta travelers for months to come. So, let's talk about some of the facts that an Atlanta commuter would want to know.

AVOID DRIVING ALONE: This might sound like a plea to reduce carbon emissions or “go green,” but it honestly is not. We need to carpool or take public transportation. We need to find co-workers who are heading in the same direction and catch a ride with them. We all need to take MARTA when possible. I have never ridden MARTA to court and have already looked at the train schedule and stops.

TELE-WORK: This might be the perfect time to mention to your boss something that has been on your mind for weeks. Ask your manager or supervisor if you can work from home on Mondays and Fridays to help reduce traffic. You can offer your boss to try it on a trial basis while showing him or her that you can be even more productive from home.

STAGGER OUR WORK SCHEDULES: As an employer myself, I have told employees that they can come in during non-peak hours. If businesses stagger their employees' start and end times, this will help all of us.

AVOID ROAD RAGE: Finally, everyone needs to be careful to avoid aggressive driving or reckless driving out of anger or frustration.

We will get through this together!  If cited for a traffic ticket during this time period, call an Atlanta Traffic Ticket Lawyer today.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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