The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) set an ambitious two-month timeline to rebuild Interstate10’s Tex Wash Bridge after the eastbound bridge failed during a major storm as fast-moving flood waters shifted the dirt that held its foundation in place. Interstate10 was shut down between Route 86 and the Arizona border, four miles west of Desert Center, California, after the 30 by 50-foot section of the bridge collapsed.
Since the bridge is a "critical piece of infrastructure" connecting drivers traveling between Arizona and California, the goal of Caltrans was to speed up the replacement bridge design and construction. Caltrans selected Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) methods to significantly fast-track the eastbound I-10 Tex Wash Bridge reconstruction process. ABC entails prefabricating as many bridge components as possible to minimize road closures and traffic disruptions, promote traffic and worker safety, and improve the overall quality and durability of the bridges.
Caltrans designed the bridge superstructure as a modular precast concrete system using precast concrete bridge superstructure elements, making it possible to install the prefabricated bridge units over two weekends.
For the bridge replacement, Granite Construction contracted Oldcastle Precast to manufacture two precast concrete bridge abutments, cast in four segments, measuring 6-foot by 6-foot by 20-foot long, four precast concrete wing walls measuring 18.5-foot by 1-foot by 9-foot tall and ten prestressed box girders measuring 4-foot by 3.5-foot by 105-foot long at the precast firm’s Perris, Calif. plant.
As a team, Caltrans, Granite Construction, and Oldcastle Precast worked around the clock to ensure the emergency bridge replacement stayed on schedule. The result, Caltrans rebuilt the bridge under budget and earlier than their required deadline.
"They've worked at lightning speed out there because they wanted it open as soon as possible,” said Tyeisha Prunty, public information officer for Caltrans District 8 in San Bernardino. "We're very proud of the work, which was done to specification.” (Quote from Palo Verde Valley Times article 09/25/2015). The rebuilt eastbound Tex Wash Bridge on Interstate10 fully reopened to traffic just over two months after beginning construction.
The $5 million, Interstate10 Emergency Bridge Replacement-Tex Wash Bridge project required the complete demolition of the existing eastbound bridge, replacement of rock slope protection in the channel below, and rebuilding the bridge in an accelerated fashion.