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All lanes of Interstate 15 reopen after massive bridge fire

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Interstate 15 in Hesperia was open after the roadway was shut because of a massive fire on a bridge

All lanes of Interstate 15 in Hesperia were open late Tuesday, after the roadway was shut in both directions Monday afternoon because of a massive fire on a bridge under construction, officials said.

The San Bernardino Council of Governments tweeted at 11:54 p.m. that all lanes were open. Northbound lanes were opened earlier Tuesday evening.

A construction worker's torch started the blaze that roared through the bridge's temporary wooden frame, closing the road as firefighters tried to put it out.

Wind gusts made it difficult at first for firefighters to get water on the flames, and the eight-lane bridge eventually collapsed into a pile of smoldering ash and twisted rebar, burning through Tuesday morning.

The blaze above the main route between Southern California and Las Vegas snarled traffic for miles on Monday and is expected to prove a significant setback to the $59-million bridge project.

Tim Watkins, a spokesman for the San Bernardino Associated Governments, which is overseeing the project, said it was too soon to determine the extent of the damage and whether concrete support pillars and abutment walls were destabilized. Regardless, he said the fire caused a “significant loss” in terms of timing because crews will not only have to rebuild the destroyed components but find new materials at new prices -- which could add to the costs.

About $31 million of the project’s $59-million price tag had been earmarked for construction, Watkins said. It was not clear how much of that money had been spent before the fire, he said, or how much it would cost to repair the fire damage.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

UPDATE

1:25 a.m.: A California Highway Patrol dispatcher confirmed that southbound lanes of Interstate 15 in Hesperia were opened to traffic around 11:45 p.m.

CHP officers will be checking on the site of the bridge fire periodically throughout the night to ensure there is no debris falling, the dispatcher said, and Caltrans workers were also expected to be on site until about 7 a.m.

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