The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Wednesday, 07 May 2014 12:12cat

All Lanes Reopen After I-15 Bridge Fire

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The center of the I-15 bridge collapsed after burring for more than 16 hours The center of the I-15 bridge collapsed after burring for more than 16 hours KTLA

Officials reopened southbound lanes of Interstate 15 in Hesperia, California on Wednesday morning after an overpass fire closed down the freeway for more than 24 hours. The northbound lanes were reopened on Tuesday around 5:30 pm. The fire caused 20-mile long backups in either direction on Monday along the popular route between Southern California and Las Vegas. Firefighters and crews worked around the clock to clear the debris from collapsed bridge to reopen the interstate.

At least one construction worker is to blame for starting the fire on Monday at about 1:30 pm local time, according to officials. The worker was using welding equipment to cut steel rebar when strong wind gusts caused the bridge’s wooden supports to catch on fire. Construction workers quickly tried to put out the fire, but the 35-mile per hour wind gusts spread the flames across the entire bridge. The fire burned for more than 16 hours and the middle portion of the bridge collapsed around 4:30 am on Tuesday. The construction-site conditions, including the large piles of rebar lying on the ground, made it difficult for firefighters to reach the center of the bridge. The location of the fire combined with the wind gusts and limited water supply made it difficult to put out the fire.

The new overpass was part of a $60 million, two-year interchange project in the city of Hesperia. Residents had waited years for the bridge to be built so they could travel around the region easier and faster. The project was expected to be completed in early 2015, but the fire has pushed back the completion date by at least 6 months. Workers were just a few days from pouring concrete for the bridge.

Please see the video embedded under media below showing the collapsed bridge.

Sources: SF GateCBS Local

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The video above shows the damage to the bridge from the fire TodoAllTvChannel

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