According to U.S. News and World Report, Atlanta is number nine in terms of the worst traffic among the cities of the nation. After last night, with the collapse of a portion of I-85 near downtown Atlanta, we could become number one.
However, we are not particularly interested in that ignominious distinction. Thankfully no one was injured and no one died as a result of the blazing inferno that caused the collapse of the section of the interstate highway. And, we can be grateful that no one was on the section of the highway when it fell into the conflagration below.
I was also thankful for the on-the-scene reporting of the television stations that kept us apprised of the event. The firefighters and first responders were effective and valiant in their response to the fire and its consequences.
This morning we have been told that not only will the northbound lanes of I-85 be closed north of the city, but the southbound lanes will also be closed. In regards to the amount of time it would take to re-open this major interstate highway the Georgia Department of Transportation was not talking in terms of days or weeks, but months.
Commuters have been urged to take MARTA or reroute their path into and out of the city. It is likely that the gridlock on I-75 and I-285 will be more horrendous than ever. I live near I-75 and I-285 and the traffic congestion combined with the road construction near our home could give one a good cause for justifiable road rage.
Last week some traffic analyst determined how long it would take people to get to SunTrust Park, the new home of the Atlanta Braves at the interchange of I-75 and I-285. In essence, they calculated that it would be a breeze and that anyone within 30 miles of the stadium could get to a Braves game in a matter of minutes. I don’t know what planet they were living on. I not only questioned their calculations, but their sanity. Because of this latest development I would suggest that if you are coming to a Braves game next week, you should have already left home.
However, here are some suggestions for those of you who dare to venture out into the maze and madness of Atlanta traffic.
First, begin your journey early enough in order to give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination on schedule.
Second, make sure your car has plenty of gasoline in case you get in a traffic jam that causes you to use more fuel than you thought would be required.
Third, make sure you have water and something you can do if you get stopped in traffic for a long period of time. You can make phone calls, dictate letters, make out a grocery list, pray, etc.
Fourth, resolve not to let the traffic master your emotions. Refuse to get angry with motorists who fail to display courtesy, cut in front of you, and let their emotions run wild. Do not become filled with rage. Develop a Christ-controlled temperament.
Fifth, allow the fruit of the spirit to control your thoughts and behavior.
Sixth, thank God you don’t have to walk to work or to you destination.
Sometimes, I wish I were back in my hometown of Valdese, North Carolina – a Mayberry kind of town. The town has only gained 2,000 new residents since 1940; and the population has actually decreased in the last five years. The only time we ever had a traffic jam in Valdese was after the Friday night football games when everyone flocked to the Rat Hole (a sandwich shop one block from the football field). They called it the Rat Hole because that is what it looked like with all the students scurrying in and out of the place.
However, God has placed me here in the Atlanta area and I realize I need to bloom where I am planted, even if I am planted for hours on I-285.