4:30 P.M. TUESDAY – The Mono County Sheriff's Department announced that, per Caltrans at 3:45 p.m., U.S. 395 at the bridge of State Route 182 in Bridgeport is now open.
9:30 A.M. TUESDAY – An as-yet unidentified truck driver was killed early this morning when he drove his rig off a bridge and into the East Walker River.
According to both the California Highway Patrol and Mono County Sheriff’s Department, the tractor-trailer appears to have failed to negotiate the curve at the south end of Bridgeport, driving through the bridge railing, striking an embankment and erupting into flames.
As of 9 a.m., firefighters were still attempting to extinguish the fire that destroyed the cab of the truck and took out both of the rig’s gas tanks, causing an explosion that alerted residents and authorities to the collision at about 3:45 a.m., said Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Jennifer Hansen.
The fire was primarily contained to the cab, but did spread to the back of the trailer, which contained what has been described as a “general textile shipment.”
Until further notice, U.S. 395 in and out of the town of Bridgeport is closed. An officer with the Bridgeport CHP office said officers are directing motorists around the town via detours.
Northbound traffic is being detoured at State Route 182 to Nevada 338, to Nevada 208 and back to U.S. 395.
Southbound traffic from Nevada is being detoured from U.S. 395, to Nevada 208, to Nevada 338, to S.R. 182 and back onto U.S. 395.
According to Hansen, all local roads are open.
Caltrans, meanwhile, is on-scene assessing the bridge for structural damages. The CHP is leading the investigation into the crash and is working in tandem with Caltrans on the re-opening of the highway. The Sheriff’s Department is leading the investigation into the death of the driver.
U.S. 395 through Bridgeport will be re-opened when the fire has been fully extinguished, the accident scene is cleared and Caltrans has determined the bridge is safe for vehicular traffic.
Caltrans District 9 Public Information Officer Florene Trainer said it will be “hours” before the highway is re-opened.