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US flooding: Officials hope to reopen LA to Phoenix freeway

DESERT CENTER, California –

Officials hope to fully reopen the main highway from Los Angeles to Phoenix as early as next week after a flash flood swept away part of the road through the Southern California desert.

The flooding began Wednesday night amid the latest monsoon to hit the region this summer. The damaged roadway was part of a bypass through a repair project along Interstate 10 eastbound near the small community of Central Desert, about 265 kilometers east of Los Angeles.

The California Department of Transportation on Friday said teams are working around the clock to restore the roundabout early next week, which will reopen both eastbound lanes to motorists.

Meanwhile, officials recommend that motorists leaving Southern California use Interstates 8 or 40, which are major detours.

Initially, officials shut down traffic in both directions. The westbound lane for Arizona to California traffic was reopened, followed by an eastbound lane of the highway.

A 2015 flash flood in the same area washed away a bridge east of I-10 and eroded the ground beneath the westbound bridge, closing the interstate for nearly a week as the bridge headed west. West is repaired. The East side hasn’t reopened for weeks.

On Thursday, more than 5.08 centimeters of rain fell in the Mojave Desert and flash floods damaged some roads. Campers at the Hole-in-the-Wall Visitor Center and Campground in the Mojave National Reserve were briefly stranded until temporary repairs were made.

Other nearby roads were also closed after the rain.

“The Mojave Road, a historic cross-desert road and now a dirt road, still cannot cross Lake Soda due to standing water and deep mud that can trap even four-wheel drive vehicles,” according to Mojave. National Preserve.

Flash floods earlier this summer severely damaged roads in Death Valley National Park, leaving hundreds of visitors stranded by floodwaters and roads covered in debris. It took about two weeks for the park to reopen to its most popular areas.

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