Repairs still underway on 134 Freeway bridge following weekend fuel tanker fire

Firefighters use foam to extinguish a gasoline tanker fire in Glendale, Calif., Saturday, April 7, 2012. The California Highway Patrol reopened the eastbound 134 Freeway near where the gasoline tanker truck caught fire in a crash with a Honda sedan that sent flames and black smoke shooting into the air.
Firefighters use foam to extinguish a gasoline tanker fire in Glendale, Calif., Saturday, April 7, 2012. The California Highway Patrol reopened the eastbound 134 Freeway near where the gasoline tanker truck caught fire in a crash with a Honda sedan that sent flames and black smoke shooting into the air. Mike Meadows/AP

Caltrans is working on repairs to a bridge that connects the 134 and 5 freeways near Glendale after this weekend’s fuel truck fire.

Nearly 6,000 gallons of gas burned near the overpass after a suspected drunk driver rear-ended a fuel tanker late Saturday night. Highway and bridge damage is estimated at $250,000.

The transportation agency closed freeway lanes in both directions for more than a day after the accident, but the last of them reopened late Sunday night.

Both drivers and a passenger in the sedan walked away from the accident uninjured. The bridge didn’t fare too badly either, compared to a similar accident that has left the Paramount Boulevard Bridge overlooking the 60 Freeway still damaged four months later. The bridge near Montebello sustained major damage after a tanker exploded back in December.

Caltrans spokeswoman Lauren Wonder said that fire was worse because the tanker hit the overpass.

“This particular incident wasn’t under the over-crossing, fortunately," said Wonder. "It only burned the guardrail along the side and it potentially was affecting the bridge overhead, so different situations.”

She added that this most recent fire had less fuel to feed it.

"Only the back tank burned," she said. "The contractor was able to offload the fuel from the other tank.”

Wonder said engineers have finished inspecting the roadway and overpass. They still have to power-wash the bridge’s charred belly and replace its asphalt shoulder and guardrail.

She said they’ll close some freeway lanes at night during the next week or so to complete the repairs.

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