Officials plan to reopen main highway from Los Angeles to Phoenix next week. The road was washed out due to heavy floods.
The disaster began last Wednesday out of monsoonal thunderstorms that hit region. More than 2 inches of rain fell in the Mojave Desert, and sudden floods damaged several roads. Vacationers in the tourist center “Hole in the Wall” and camping in the Mojave National Forest could not leave and were waiting for the repair team.
The damaged road was part of a bypass after a repair project along Interstate 10 eastbound near the small village of Desert Center, about 165 miles east of Los Angeles.
Officials initially blocked traffic in both directions. Soon westbound lanes were opened for traffic from Arizona to California, followed by one lane east.
An aerial photo shows a blurred section of I-10 in California. Other roads nearby were also closed due to heavy rain.
“Mojave Road, a historic path through the desert, now a dirt road, remains impassable across Soda Lake due to standing water and deep mud, where could get stuck even on four-wheel drive vehicles, ” says the Mojave National Wildlife Refuge.
Flash floods happen from time to time since early summer. They inflicted heavy damage to roads in Death Valley National Park, resulting in hundreds of visitors were stranded. It took park about two weeks to reopen their most popular zones.
Officials advise drivers leaving South California, use I-8 or I-40 which are major bypass roads in this area.
A sudden flood in 2015 in the same area washed away the bridge on the eastern side of I-10 and eroded the ground under the bridge to the west, causing the interstate to be closed for nearly a week until the bridge to the west was being repaired. East side is not opened within a few weeks.