15 Fwy Lanes Reopen After Bridge Collapse, Fire | NBC Southern California

15 Fwy Lanes Reopen After Bridge Collapse, Fire

The fire was accidentally started by a construction worker’s blowtorch. Investigators said that high winds hampered firefighters’ efforts to stop the flames.

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    (Published Tuesday, May 6, 2014)

    Officials reopened lanes on the southbound 15 Freeway in the Mojave Desert early Wednesday morning after part of an overpass bridge collapsed a day after it burned in a fire sparked during construction work. 

    The bridge's wooden supports caught fire Monday, closing a portion of the freeway and stopping traffic for hours. Miles-long delays were reported Tuesday.

    The northbound 15 Freeway lanes had reopened Tuesday evening.

    Northbound lanes reopened by 5:20 p.m. Tuesday, and southbound lanes reopened around 1 a.m. Wednesday, seven hours earlier than the expected 8 a.m. reopening.

    Both directions of the 15 Freeway near Ranchero Road were closed due to the fire that sent debris falling on the freeway below. A large middle portion of the bridge completely collapsed early Tuesday morning as fire continued to burn parts of the bridge that firefighters cannot access.

    Traffic was backed up about 20 miles Monday and many drivers reported spending hours in gridlock.

    "It's so bad that we actually had to put a movie on to entertain ourselves," driver Lena Razzo said Monday night.

    Hesperia Bridge Fire Update

    [LA] Hesperia Bridge Fire  Update
    Officials held a press conference early Tuesday morning to update the public after an overpass caught fire and partially collapsed, closing the 15 Freeway and backing up traffic for miles Monday.
    (Published Tuesday, May 6, 2014)

    The under-construction Ranchero Bridge in Hesperia caught fire around 1:30 p.m. Monday and continued to burn more than 16 hours later. The mddle portion of the bridge completely collapsed just after 4:30 a.m. Tuesday.

    "Collapse was pretty scary, we actually had a firefighter standing on the ledge and the footing came from underneath him and he actually had to dive for his safety," San Bernardino Co. Fire Capt. Al Franco said of the Monday partial bridge collapse.

    Bridge Fire Shuts Down 15 Freeway

    [LA] Bridge Fire Shuts Down 15 Freeway
    The 15 Freeway near Ranchero Road in Hesperia was shut down after a an overpass bridge's wooden supports caught fire. Tony Shin reports for the NBC4 News at 11 on Monday, May 5, 2015.
    (Published Tuesday, May 6, 2014)

    Workers continued to tear down the bridge early Tuesday while letting the fire burn out.

    Traffic was being diverted to the north and south using on and off ramps near the Ranchero Road Bridge.

    The fire was accidentally started by a construction worker’s blowtorch, officials said. Workers tried to put it out, but it quickly spread. Investigators said that high winds hampered firefighters’ efforts to stop the flames.

    Fire on Bridge Shuts Down Freeway, Jams Traffic

    [LA] Fire on Bridge Shuts Down Freeway, Jams Traffic
    A bridge spanning the 15 Freeway in Hesperia caught fire on Monday, snarling traffic and shutting down the busy highway, which may not open again until tomorrow. Alex Calder reports from Hesperia for the NBC4 news at 5 and 6 p.m. on Monday, May 5, 2014.
    (Published Monday, May 5, 2014)

    "We had to run out there pretty quick. And all that rebar on the ground, made it hard to get out of there," one construction workers said.

    The bridge was part of a $27 million underpass project. It had been under construction for about a year and a half, and was supposed to be complete next summer.

    Hesperia’s City Manager said Monday’s fire is sad news for nearby residents who had lobbied hard for the bridge.

    "And the sad part here is that (workers) were way ahead of schedule," City Manager Mike Podegracz said.

    The freeway is Southern California's main connector to Las Vegas.

    NBC4's Tony Shin contributed to this report.

    Follow NBCLA for the latest LA news, events and entertainment:iPhone/iPad App | Facebook| Twitter | Google+ | Instagram | RSS | Text Alerts | Email Alerts