Another major highway through Atlanta was partially shut down on Monday, this one after underground utility work caused the pavement to rise up, break apart, and send a passing motorcyclist flying through the air. While the east-west highway could reopen as soon as Tuesday, the rupture was another headache for Atlanta area motorists already struggling with the collapse of an overpass on a key north-south route. Witnesses say the motorcyclist was riding in the carpool lane when the pavement suddenly rose up in front of him, the AP reports. Others rushed to his aid. DeKalb County spokesman Andrew Cauthen says the man was hospitalized with multiple fractures.
The buckling was caused by a utility crew using machinery to bore a new natural gas pipeline under Interstate 20, authorities say. DeKalb County police spokeswoman Shiera Campbell says a pipeline being filled with concrete ruptured, and the concrete was forced upward. The pressure caused the pavement to rise and break apart, creating a mound as high as six feet or more in the High Occupancy Vehicle lane. The Atlanta Gas Light company says it was performing work in the area, but the incident did not involve natural gas. Authorities hope to have the entire road reopened by noon Tuesday. (Police say the fire that caused the I-85 collapse was started intentionally.)