An accidental fire destroyed the incomplete bridge from California to Nevada on Monday afternoon. One of the bridge’s construction workers was using a blowtorch when strong winds fanned the flames, starting the massive fire.
The $32 million bridge burned through the night and turned the erected supports to ash. Because of the fire, there was heavy traffic on Interstate 15 and firefighters battled with the strong winds while tirelessly doing all they could to put out the fires.
Firefighters, however, struggled to put out the flames, as there was little access to hydrants and water had to be brought in by a truck. Furthermore, the strong winds were making it hard for the water to reach parts of the bridge that were on fire.
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) May 5, 2014
Crews made use of heavy equipment to clear the area of debris and remnants from the fire. After the fire was put out, officials said that the freeway pavement was not majorly damaged. All that is needed to be done is to sweep and clean the pavement and restripe it.
One side of the major route to California was re-opened on Tuesday. According to California Highway Patrol officials, the southbound lanes will also be reopened on Wednesday morning.
Basem Muallem, district director of the California Department of Transportation, praised the contractor of the bridge, saying, “he’s done a heroic effort, working throughout the night” to get rid of the wreckage.
Construction of the bridge started in 2013 and was expected to be finished by early 2015. With the destruction brought about by the fire, the schedule is expected to be pushed back for 6 months. The bridge’s falsework, or wooden structures, had been completed and it was only a few more days before concrete was to be poured on the frames before the fire started.
Image via Facebook/City of Hesperia