I-10 Bridge Collapse Affects 70,000 As California’s Infrastructure Crumbles

A deluge of rain has caused the ground to be washed out from under the I-10 Tex Wash bridge in California west of Blythe, causing it to collapse. The resulting road closure is estimated to affect the commute of over 70,000 people.

Though the collapse happened on the east bound lane of the I-10 interstate, both east and west bound lanes are closed as CalTrans inspectors and officials look closely at the cause of the bridge’s collapse.

According to CBS News reports, it seems the remnants of tropical storm Delores has caused flash floods everywhere in drought ridden California, after almost four years of bone dry weather. The report indicated that a flash flood through the Coachella Valley caused the ground to be washed out from underneath the east bound I-10 Tex Wash bridge, causing the bridge to collapse this last Sunday.

One injury was reported as a result of the I-10 collapsed bridge, which left a truck and its injured driver hanging off the edge by its axle. Rescue crews worked for two hours to get the man and his truck to safety.

The collapsed I-10 bridge will bring with it many woes, according to USA Today, as the the California Department of Transportation inspectors ensure the safety of diverting traffic through the west bound lane.

For now, traffic that normally travels the 100-mile span from Arizona to California must take a detour that adds two hours to the original 45-minute commute, according to CBS News reports.

Mike Radford, the California Highway Patrol spokesman, explained to the reporters.

“This collapsed bridge is gonna cause a huge problem for thousands and thousands of people every single day….This is the major corridor from the L.A. area to out east.”

Unfortunately, California’s crumbling infrastructure problems don’t stop there. The sturdiness of the 1967 Architecture, considered obsolete by federal regulations standards, is a concern that has only recently received attention appropriate to the scope of the problem highlighted by the I-10 bridge collapse.

Along the I-10 freeway, 45 other bridges have been identified in Riverside County alone that rate below the Tex wash bridge that collapsed, 39 of which are older, and 8 of which no longer meet the needs of modern day traffic making them “functionally obsolete.”

According to state leaders, billions will be needed to repair California’s many aging bridges, like the one that collapsed on Sunday, as well as it’s thousands of miles of dilapidated roads. A new awareness of the issue is prompting California state legislators to push bills that will funnel money into modernizing and repairing California’s transportation infrastructure. The problem now is agreeing on where the money should come from.

[Image via Lucas Esposito/The Desert Sun]