Southern California

Heavy Rains Cause Bridge Collapse Along I-10, Main Route Between Los Angeles and Phoenix

An elevated section of Interstate 10 collapsed Sunday amid heavy rains in a remote desert area of California, cutting off traffic between the state and Arizona and leaving a driver injured.

The Tex Wash bridge in Desert Center, which carries the eastbound interstate about 15 feet above a normally dry wash west of the Arizona state line, snapped and washed away in flooding water below, the California Highway Patrol said.

One driver had to be rescued from a pickup truck that crashed in the collapse and was taken to a hospital with moderate injuries, the Riverside County Fire Department said. A passenger from the truck was able to get out without help and wasn't hurt.

"Bystanders quickly used straps from their trucks to secure vehicle to guardrail to prevent it from washing away," the Riverside County Fire Department officials said in a statement.

The interstate is closed from north junction of State Route 86 in Indio to the junction of State Route 177.

California transportation officials say the westbound side of the 10 Freeway has also been badly compromised by flooding in the same area where the eastbound side collapsed.

Caltrans spokeswoman Terri Kasinga said Sunday night that it means the interstate that serves as a main route between California and Arizona will stay shut down "completely and indefinitely."

Brandon Burton
Part of a bridge collapsed on the 10 Freeway in Riverside County, forcing the closure of both sides of the highway on Sunday, July 19, 2015.

Caltrans engineers will be at the site assessing damage Monday.

Other locations along I-10 within 25 to 50 miles of the collapse will need to be inspected, according to spokesperson Linda Takahashi.

An overpass about two miles east of the collapse also suffered damage, she said.

No timeframe was given for when either side would reopen as crews were diverted from other projects to examine the site Monday.

As of Monday morning, drivers heading eastbound on I-10 were being diverted to the SR-86 south to Salton Sea.

Another option for those heading east was to take State Route 62 near Palm Springs toward Twenty-Nine Palms/Joshua Tree.

Caltrans estimated detours could add two hours onto the trip.

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