Photo Courtesy David Knudsen, legislative affairs, CalTrans
A California bridge received $2 million in emergency federal funding.

The Federal Highway Administration provided $2 million in emergency-relief funds to repair a California bridge that partially collapsed after the foundation washed away under an abutment.

A heavy rainfall on July 19 washed away the abutment at the eastern end of the Tex Wash Bridge near Desert Center, Calif., which carries eastbound traffic on Interstate 10, the main link from Southern California to Arizona. The westbound bridge also was damaged but still standing, and traffic flowed over it in both directions after foundation repairs.

The day after the collapse, which injured one driver and stopped traffic, the California Dept. of Transportation awarded an emergency-bid contract to Granite Construction Inc., Watsonville, Calif., and round-the-clock work started at 6 p.m. that day.

“We replaced 200 cubic yards of structural concrete to support the westbound structure underneath,” says Brian Caris, Granite’s construction manager. Along with subcontractors, hauling companies, drivers and laborers, Granite performed 10,000 yd of earthwork cut-and-fill, and placed 2,500 tons of base rock and 2,500 tons of concrete. The construction team also installed 500 tons of riprap on the embankments, says Caris. 

The bridge reopened at noon on July 23, three and a half days after work began, he says.

Repair work that eventually will cost $5 million will take until mid-September to finish, says Caris. The Tex Wash Bridge is one of 25,406 California bridges rated in 2014 as deficient by the FHWA’s National Bridge Inventory.