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The El Carrizo bridge after it was damaged by fire last Friday. The El Carrizo bridge after it was damaged by fire last Friday.

Freeway remains shut after bridge damage

Part of the Mazatlán-Durango highway was closed after a fire on the El Carrizo bridge

Early estimates predict that repairs to a bridge on the Mazatlán-Durango highway will require at least 45 days to complete.

A tanker truck carrying diesel fuel overturned on the El Carrizo suspension bridge last Friday, spilling 34,000 liters of fuel and causing a fire that severely damaged the structure, which has been closed to all traffic.

The fire burned for about eight hours and reached temperatures of 200 C, according to one estimate, damaging at least 120 square meters of the surface.

The state representative of the federal Secretariat of Communications and Transportation reported that the concrete and rebar sustained severe structural damage on a 70-meter-long stretch.

Héctor García Fox said the fire did not affect the bridge’s suspension structure.

A full assessment of the structural damage is expected to take 10 days to complete.

The 217-meter-long bridge is a key transportation link between the tourist destination of Mazatlán and the Mexico-United States border.

But Mazatlán’s possible loss is Concordia’s gain. Communities in the Sinaloa municipality that are on the detour route for bridge traffic — most notably El Palmito — are enjoying a small boom.

The fire also happened to coincide with the celebrations of the 453rd anniversary of the foundation of the city of Concordia, creating a positive impact for the local tourism industry, with the hotel occupancy rate at 100%.

The El Carrizo bridge, which opened in 2013, is the third highest bridge in Mexico at 198 meters, while its central tower is the second tallest bridge structure in North America at 226 meters. It is one meter higher than Mexico City’s Torre Mayor.

Source: Vanguardia (sp), El Debate (sp)

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