Authorities at noon Friday reopened one lane in each direction of Interstate 10, which had been closed in the Desert Center area since a bridge collapsed amid heavy weekend rains.
A 30-foot section of the bridge collapsed Sunday afternoon, cutting off the primary route for motorists traveling between California and Arizona. The 10 freeway was closed between State Route 86 and the Arizona state line.
Granite Construction Inc. workers this week strengthened the westbound side of the bridge to allow two-way traffic.
“I am proud of Caltrans and Granite Construction staff working together to repair and reopen I-10 in less than five days after a storm damage event of this magnitude,” said John Bulinski, interim director for Caltrans District 8. “I also want to thank the public and those communities most impacted for their patience during this inconvenience.”
Crews will complete minor work on the reopened westbound bridge, before turning their full attention to rebuilding the eastbound bridge, a project expected to be completed sometime in September.
On Thursday, federal officials announced the immediate availability of $2 million in funding to help cover costs associated with the rebuilding.
“About 20,000 drivers use this bridge each day, traveling between Arizona and California,” U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “It is a critical piece of infrastructure for the people in both states, and DOT is committed to doing everything we can to help the area rebuild quickly and safely.”
The relief funds will be provided through the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief program.
Granite Construction was awarded an emergency contract Monday to conduct the repair work. Repairs were also made on two other bridges on the freeway -- Adair Ditch Bridge and Hillock Ditch Bridge -- that were found to be in need of upgrades.
With part of the bridge reopened, state transportation officials warned that traffic will be heavier and slower than usual.
Motorists were still being advised to avoid I-10 travel and use detour routes such as Arizona Route 95 to Interstate 40 or Interstate 8 to State Route 111 to Route 86 to get around the closure. Another option is State Route 177 to State Route 62, then back onto Interstate 10.
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