By Sunday night , all four main westbound lanes of I-30 near North Beach Street are expected to be open. Westbound traffic in that area has been reduced to two lanes since March 28, when a wrong-way driver struck a tanker truck, causing a fiery crash that was so hot it melted some of the bridge's support structure.
An emergency contract of $677,000 was issued to repair the bridge. The general contractor, Gibson and Assoc., finished the work a month ahead of schedule.
"When it first happened, we really couldn't tell the extent of damage," said Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Val Lopez, who added that officials initially worried the work would take months longer. "There was real concern that the fire had damaged the metal support bridge shoes that lie between the cap and the beam. You can't go to Home Depot to buy those. Those have to be fabricated. But it turns out that we were able to refurbish them. That moved up the timeline."
Weather permitting, crews will be out on westbound I-30 from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, removing concrete barriers and temporary lane striping. During that time, traffic will be reduced to one lane, and motorists can expect delays.
But commuters on Monday morning should experience a much smoother ride to work on I-30.
On March 28, Louis Nieves, 23, was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and intoxication manslaughter. Police said he drove a 1996 Ford pickup the wrong way on I-30 and slammed into a fully loaded fuel tanker driven by Alejandro Raya, 45.
Raya was trapped in the truck and died at the scene.
Witnesses said flames could be seen for miles.
-- Gordon Dickson, firstname.lastname@example.org