RIVERSIDE – Riverside County proclaimed a local emergency on Tuesday following damage from Hurricane Dolores, which brought more than six inches of precipitation to the Desert Center area that collapsed a bridge and section of Interstate 10.
The collapse of the Tex Wash eastbound overcrossing and the degradation of the westbound bridge resulted in the interstate’s closure. Currently closed between State Route 86 and the State Route 177 junction, the I-10 damage has affected travelers and commerce, which both rely heavily on the critical corridor for tourism, trade and transport.
“Caltrans and Granite Construction are working on repairs and we very much hope that traffic will be moving again in both directions on this major highway in a matter of days,” said Supervisor John J. Benoit. “I thank Caltrans, our county departments and everybody involved for pulling together in this time of emergency and responding quickly.”
Benoit, along with Sen. Jeff Stone and Board of Supervisors Chairman Marion Ashley, initiated calls to the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Sunday night. Benoit visited the scene on Monday morning, where California Department of Transportation structural engineers were conducting damage assessments.
By Monday afternoon, Granite Construction Company began work under an emergency contract to make repairs to the interstate. The company is evaluating the work to be completed and the schedule for that work.
Riverside County experienced severe rainfall, flooding, wind, debris and mud flows during the storm and as much as 6.7 inches of rain fell on some locations. In addition to the bridge collapse, impacts throughout the county included loss of utilities, road closures and structural damage to businesses. CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department conducted three swift-water rescues.
Riverside County will finalize and submit a state emergency proclamation to ask the state for relief funds because of the damages. The emergency declaration, approved 5-0 on Tuesday, also requests that the governor put contract incentives in place and direct state agencies to expedite any permits needed to rebuild the collapsed section of I-10.
Should the state and federal government recognize the emergency and make recovery funds available, the county could apply for reimbursement of 75 percent of expenses. Approval of reimbursements would be made on a case-by-case basis.