- The Georgia Department of Transportation announced that it expects replacement of a collapsed section of Interstate 85 through downtown Atlanta to be complete by June 15, according to Curbed Atlanta.
- Demolition is almost finished, and GDOT officials said construction crews will work nonstop to meet the 10-week deadline. The agency delivered plans to contractor C.W. Matthews just three days after the collapse so that fabrication of structural elements could begin.
- A March 30 fire destroyed a 350-foot, elevated section of the interstate, leaving a gap in a crucial artery of the region's highway system.
The speed at which the GDOT has moved to replace the ruined section of highway is impressive and is sure to be good news for the hundreds of thousands of drivers who find themselves having to rethink their daily commute.
A report by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that such a reaction on the part of public officials is not unusual when it comes to critical infrastructure, like a major thoroughfare. Project repairs time can be slashed with a combination of monetary incentives, along with a higher level of cooperation between state agencies and any private contractors performing the work.
This concept of fast-tracking a project through red tape is something the members of President Donald Trump's infrastructure task force suggested in March. The task force emphasized using the bankruptcy court tactic of arbitration, while billionaire developer and task force head Richard LeFrak proposed shifting the power to one person making the permitting and environmental review decisions in order to shave years off of construction timetables.
Just this week, Trump reiterated his intention to streamline infrastructure projects in a White House meeting with top U.S. business executives. He promised to cut red tape that can leave projects languishing in bureaucratic limbo and promised not to back any project that could not get off the ground within 90 days. However, he did not offer additional details about what that kind of action would look like.
This renewed energy behind infrastructure comes after Trump called for eliminating much of federal infrastructure spending in his 2018 budget proposal. Many construction industry players, however, are waiting to see what is included in his infrastructure bill before passing judgment.