UPDATE 2: I-10 is to be reopened on Friday, according to Caltrans, using the westbound lanes for two-way traffic. This will provide one lane in each direction while construction work continues on the bridge on the eastbound lanes.
UPDATE: Traffic in Parker has become heavy and slow due to the detour, but relief is coming. CA-177 has been reopened, which means there is a new shorter detour for traffic between Phoenix and Los Angeles using CA-177 and CA-62 (see below). For traffic between Southern California and the Parker Strip, use CA-62 at Desert Hot Springs.
The constant to and fro of traffic between metropolitan Southern California and the Parker Strip has been significantly interrupted after I-10 was closed near Desert Center due to significant flood damage. Here are the basics.
The roadway over a bridge near Desert Center collapsed after heavy floodwaters damaged the structure on Sunday evening, according to authorities. One driver was trapped in the debris at the Tex Wash bridge, while other motorists secured his truck with straps to stop it getting washed away. The driver sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was released by emergency personnel. The Parker area itself didn’t get as wet as surrounding areas, with the KLPZ weather station in Parker, AZ getting around half an inch of rain over the weekend.
What’s going on with the road now?
The I-10 freeway was immediately closed from the north junction of CA-86 in Indio to the junction of CA-177 at Desert Center. Caltrans will now assess the damage to the bridge, which photographs would suggest needs extensive work and perhaps even completely re-built, so the roadway will likely be closed in both directions for some time while the necessary construction takes place. In the meantime, the usual route on I-10 between Arizona and California is impossible.
What alternate routes can I take?
If you’re coming to the Parker Strip from metro Southern California, it’s relatively simple: take I-10 to the junction of CA-62 at Desert Hot Springs and follow the 62 all the way to Parker, AZ through Twentynine Palms and Joshua Tree. The added time can be as little as 10-20 minutes (without traffic).
UPDATED: For travel between metro Southern California and Phoenix, Interstate 10 westbound has reopened between Quartzsite and California, but the freeway remains closed in both directions at Desert Center. Westbound drivers are encouraged to exit I-10 at California 177, travel north to California 62 and go west to return to I-10 at Palm Springs (see above). Eastbound drivers are encouraged to exit I-10 at California 86, travel south to California 111 and continue south to I-8. At Yuma, drivers can take US 95 north to I-10 or continue east on I-8.
Any suggestions if I have to go out of my way?
Yes: stay a bit in Parker, AZ if you find yourself coming through! Eat and drink at one of the many eateries and bars. Stay at a hotel or motel near the beautiful Colorado River. Rent a boat or some waverunners. Live it up! Fun is what we’re good at.
How will this affect Parker?
Within hours of the closure, traffic through Parker – particularly on California Avenue – got very heavy and the roads have stayed congested as semis and other motorists make their way across town to the bridge, through Earp and past Big River and out toward Vidal on the 62. We’re talking to law enforcement about plans to help traffic flow. Meantime, smart planning may be necessary for traveling. With the reopening of CA-177, the alternate detour may ease congestion through Parker soon.
Share this post with anybody you think may find it helpful, and please drive safe!