North-South, now East-West: Another Atlanta highway closes

Contstruction barrels (WDTN Photo/Paul Rodzinka)

DECATUR, Ga. (AP) — Another major highway through Atlanta is closed, this one because an underground gas leak caused the fast lane to buckle. A motorcyclist hit the rising pavement at high speed and was critically injured after being flung into the air.

The pavement rose to nearly the height of a full-grown man and split into several pieces, witnesses said.

DeKalb County spokesman Andrew Cauthen says the man was hospitalized with multiple fractures after an underground gas leak buckled the HOV lane of Interstate 20.

County spokeswoman Sarah Page said all westbound lanes are closed until further notice several miles southeast of downtown Atlanta. Westbound traffic is being diverted at Interstate 285, the city’s perimeter highway.

This latest infrastructure problem will only snarl more traffic in the congested city, adding east-west complications to commutes already complicated by the collapse of an overpass on Interstate 85, a key north-south artery, due to a fire that police say was intentionally set.

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