Fourteen lanes closed on Atlanta's Interstate on Monday, due to Bomb Threat
We've seen slow traffic, stopped traffic, and a standstill parking lot on the expressway, when accidents happen, but to see all 14 lanes closed, was an eerie site in downtown Atlanta. On Monday, February 2nd, a driver on the Interstate spotted a strange looking object duct taped to the 14th Street Bridge along I-75/85 Connector and called 911. DOT closed down Interstate 75/85 and 14th Street to investigate.
The witness said that at approximately 1:00 p.m., he was sitting at the stop light at Williams and 14th Street, waiting to turn when he spotted something unusual attached to the 14th St. bridge. Alarmed by the appearance of the object, he immediately called 911.
"I was in the passenger seat and I looked over to the left, and I saw this object taped to the outside of the bridge.... The object looked like a cylinder or a tube of some kind, and it was duct-taped aggressively to the side of the bridge. It just didn't look right! And if it happened to have been something dangerous and we didn't report it, that's something I would've had to live with for the rest of my life."
The caller, says he had no idea until later that police had shut down the connector while they checked out the device. Traffic was shut down for nearly 4 hours with DOT signs encouraging travelers to use alternative routes.
Traffic was backed up for miles according to GDOT. Interstate 75 southbound was backed up just south Peachtree Battle Avenue. Interstate 85 southbound began to slow just south of North Druid Road. Georgia 400 was even affected with traffic stopping about a mile south of Peachtree Road. South of the incident, the Downtown Connector came to a stop just north of University Avenue.
At 3:55 the Atlanta Police Bomb Squad detonated a charge and blew up the device. Police later said that it was determined that the device was not an explosive. Engineers stated that the bridge was not damaged in the blast, determined safe and by 4:30 all lanes were reopened and traffic slowly began to move again.
On Tuesday, Georgia State University issued a statement saying that the device was a student pin-hole camera that was part of an art photography project. The statement from GSU stated that "The camera was one of 18 used by students in an art project and deployed at various locations in the city". Georgia State Police are closely cooperating with the Atlanta Police Department in the removal of all of the cameras.
In a news conference on Tuesday, Atlanta Assistant Police Chief Shawn Jones said that police did not hear from anyone at GSU about the art project until Tuesday morning. He said authorities are investigating the incident and considering charges against those responsible, and the city's legal department will determine the cost of Monday's operation. They will also decide whether to seek reimbursement from Georgia State University.