Drivers urged to use alternate routes as repairs on I-10 pillar continue

3 lanes reopened, 2 remain closed on I-10 West near Cotton

POSTED: 10:46 PM MDT Oct 18, 2013    UPDATED: 04:11 PM MST Jan 16, 2014 
EL PASO, Texas -

Motorists are urged to use alternate routes and prepare for work-week backup on I-10 West at the Cotton Street overpass.

Crews continue working to repair a pillar supporting the freeway that was damaged after a Union Pacific train derailed Friday night.

Alternate routes include Montana, Wyoming, or Paisano Drive Monday because I-10 West in Central has been reduced to three lanes, the right two lanes are closed.

The freeway on-ramp located near the intersection of Missouri Avenue and Palm Street is closed off.

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) engineers worked through the weekend to determine whether a stretch of I-10 was structurally sound.

I-10's westbound lanes were shut down most of the day Saturday at the Cotton off-ramp after a train jumped the tracks Friday night, slamming into a concrete column underneath I-10. The crash occurred at Missouri Avenue and Eucalyptus Street.

By Saturday evening, TxDOT set up concrete barriers blocking the two right-hand lanes of the freeway, and reopened three lanes.

The blockade will remain for two to three weeks, a spokeswoman said.

Motorists are urged to consider alternate routes such as Montana or Wyoming Avenues or Paisano Drive.

A Houston-based spokesperson with Union Pacific told ABC-7 she flew into town over the weekend to get a handle on the situation. She said the crash was caused when several empty railroad cars came off the track.

An ABC-7 photographer was able to get photographs and video of the damage Friday night. Those photos show a crumbled concrete column that appears to be leaning against the bottom of the freeway.

Friday night traffic was backed up for miles, early Saturday that same trend continued. Between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. traffic went from backing up a few hundred yards to several miles past the Spaghetti Bowl.