How will bridge collapse on Interstate 10 impact expedited freight?
By Dan Boaz
The recent collapse of a bridge on Interstate 10 in Southern California is a stark reminder of the infrastructure investment desperately needed on our nation's roads and highways, especially bridges as many have reached an age where they are deemed no longer suitable for purpose. The collapse, caused by unseasonal summer flooding into a normally dry wash, fortunately, caused no deaths and just one serious injury but it's the impact on transportation in the region and expedited freight in particular which will be keenly felt.
The bridge was in a remote part of the desert, near Desert Center CA, some 50 miles from the California border with Arizona and about the same distance from Palm Springs. If you've ever driven across that stretch as I have many times you'll know that there is scarcely an exit never mind an alternate route for almost one hundred miles. It's that reason that the impact on traffic will be so great as I-10 provides the primary option between Los Angeles and Arizona or beyond to the East with the only other routes being I-8 to the South which connects San Diego with Phoenix and Tucson or I-40 far to the north.
The highway supports a huge volume of interstate trucking and the negative impact is expected to last for weeks or months. The bridge that collapsed was for the eastbound lanes, but severe erosion to the westbound bridge has resulted in the entire freeway being closed. It is hoped that a temporary westbound alternate could be in place in about three or four weeks time with the intention being that single lane traffic could pass in both directions via the one point.
This stretch of interstate is a major artery on the regional and national scale with an estimated 20,000 vehicles crossing that stretch of highway every single day, of that total approximately 35% (7,000) of those vehicles are trucks. Rerouted traffic heading west is being guided on to Arizona State Route 95 all the way back in Quartzsite, Arizona.
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