Traffic is flowing again on both sides of a major California-to-Nevada interstate after being blocked by a bridge fire that stalled travelers and left charred wreckage slumping into lanes, the Associated Press reports.
“It appears that the roadway was in sufficient shape in order to get traffic on it,” San Bernardino Associated Government's Tim Watkins told KPCC.
The southbound lanes of Interstate 15 in the Mojave Desert town of Hesperia were reopened at 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, Watkins said. Northbound lanes were opened earlier Tuesday evening.
Steel beams, rebar and wood were affected by the fire, Watkins said. As a result, Caltrans and other contractor and maintenance teams used large equipment and cranes to remove and salvage any material that could be reused.
“It was just a matter of cutting away the steel, lifting it all away and getting it off the road,” Watkins said. “It was always part of the plan to do as much as we could as fast as we could.”
There may be some nighttime lane closures in order to make way for pavement maintenance, Watkins said.
“It’s just to make sure that it's 100 percent ready for ride quality and durability," Watkins said.
The route is a major artery between Southern California and Las Vegas, according to the AP.
The uncompleted overpass, located 60 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, caught fire Monday afternoon when a blowtorch being used to cut metal reinforcing bars ignited support timbers, according to the AP. Winds gusting to 35 mph fanned the flames.
Officials say the freeway pavement was not badly damaged by the fire, according to the AP.