I-10 reopened in eastern Arizona 2 days after bridge damaged in fiery wreck

May 5, 2023, 6:49 AM | Updated: 1:42 pm

PHOENIX — Interstate 10 in eastern Arizona was reopened Friday morning, two days after a semi-truck slammed into a bridge support pillar and burst into flames.

Crews worked around the clock to make the bridge safe again, the Arizona Department of Transportation said.

“I am proud of our ADOT team members and dedicated contractors who quickly identified and executed this emergency project,” Director Jennifer Toth said in a press release.

“They safely set up detours, got the necessary team in place and worked around the clock to reopen this key corridor in less than two days.”

The collision occurred just after midnight Wednesday. The truck was heading west when it went off the right side of the roadway, struck a guardrail and ran into a column under the U.S. 191 overpass west of Willcox, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said. The driver was killed.

The impact buckled a support pillar, and a structural review determined the need for bridge repairs.

The completed repair work of temporary steel supports is a short-term fix, ADOT said. The pier, girders and deck at the crash site will probably have to replaced.

Westbound I-10 was initially closed from the New Mexico state line, about 60 miles from the crash site, to Benson, requiring a long detour to the south for traffic coming into Arizona.

The closure point was moved Thursday morning to milepost 344, just east of Willcox, which still required a significant southern detour for westbound traffic.

ADOT announced around 5:15 a.m. Friday that the freeway was reopened.

Eastbound I-10 traffic was not affected because vehicles could bypass the damaged overpass on a service road.

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I-10 reopened in eastern Arizona 2 days after bridge damaged in fiery wreck