EL PASO, Texas (CBS4) — The restoration of a utility bridge damaged during a fiery crash may be completed sooner than expected.
A beam also known as a shore tower is needed to stabilize the utility bridge over Interstate 10 near Downtown El Paso.
TxDOT said once the shore towers are up, they have to put up concrete barriers to protect the towers.
The last step will be to restripe the lanes before opening up the area.
"We are going to shore up that structure so that we can get the freeway restart and open it up to traffic by this evening,” said TxDOT spokeswoman Jennifer Wright.
Drivers are asked to avoid the area until this entire process is complete.
Crews have been working to clean up the crash site since the semitruck plowed through the bridge at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
People nearby witnessed the crash.
“So we were just doing our normal thing working and then we all of a sudden here an explosion,” said Alan Montes.
The driver of the truck managed to walk away without any serious injuries.
“I saw the driver walking out of the cab. I don't know how. That was incredible because it was burning. It was incredible to see him walk out,” said Jose Ramirez.
Police said the driver of the semitruck was distracted because he was reaching for a water bottle.
TxDOT says they hope to open up both sides of the freeway by late Friday or at the latest Saturday morning.
Wright said the shores are temporary. Crews will have to resume work to finalize the repairs.
A date for that work was not provided.
Until further notice, I-10 is closed in both directions from the Downtown Exit 19 to the Mesa Street Exit 19A.
TxDOT said they hope to reopen I-10 around midnight.
“I want to remind folks, there are direct connectors from Paisano to the Border Highway east of downtown. So it’s great way to get to and from the eastside,” said Wright.