17 miles west of Desert Center is a small place known as Chiriaco Summit. It's just a gas station, a coffee shop and a car museum. Sunday night after a bridge collapsed on the Eastbound I-10 Chiriaco Summit became "a madhouse," according to Victor Garcia whose family has long owned the little roadside stop. His mom, Heather, says some 20,000 cars drive in and out of the place each day. Now, there are virtually none. Says Heather, "We gotta laugh or we'd be crying right now." No doubt, she says every week the freeway is closed could cost her $100,000 in revenue and that could add up fast.
The collapse itself was awful. The pavement dropped under a pickup truck. The driver had to be rescued. He's okay after suffering from some moderate injuries, but imagine the nightmare.
For other drivers, Heather Garcia says people were upset. Some, she adds, "were caught with small children and ill elderly folks. They were trapped for 5 hours on the freeway."
A stretch of freeway that's a critical link between California and Arizona. For big-rig drivers like Dave, who preferred we not give his last name, it was a making his life rough.
"Basically," he says, "It means I'm going to have to lose' a day's worth of driving. I'm going to have to drive an extra 250 miles to get 50 miles farther down the road."
There is no estimate on how long it will take to repair and reopen the freeway.