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Monday, May 24, 2010

40 Years Ago -- The May 25, 1970 Baldwin Park Bridge Collapse in Pasadena, California, USA

Star-News, Pasadena, California, Monday, May 25, 1970, Page 1.

Crushed by Tons on Freeway

By CARTER BARBER
Staff Writer

A newly poured concrete bridge, linking the San Bernardino and San Gabriel River freeways, collapsed in Baldwin Park today, killing a man whose pickup truck was buried by tons of rubble.

The bridge, part of an off-ramp, collapsed about 7:40 a.m. The vehicle had been rush hour. By 10 a.m. county firemen had drilled to the spot where the trapped car was smothered.

"The vehicle has been squashed to about one foot high," they reported. "There is a man inside. There are no signs of life."

It was going to take several hours to drill the vehicle out of the concrete, which is 7 to 8 feet thick at that point, firemen said. They noted that the concrete, poured last Thursday, had not yet cured to its ultimate hardness.

Image: FREEWAY BRIDGE COLLAPSES -- County fire rescue units in foreground assist Highway Patrolmen on sagged off-ramp preparing to dig out truck trapped beneath tons of concrete at intersection of San Bernardino Freeway and 605.

Source: "Star-News", Pasadena, California, Monday, May 25, 1970, Page 1.


The bridge, from the westbound lanes of the San Bernardino freeway to the southbound San Gabriel River, also known as Freeway 605, extended a distance of 150 feet from bank to bank.

Metal and concrete fell to the existing offramp, which the new section of road was to replace.

The California Highway Patrol said that through traffic on both freeways was unaffected by the collapse.

But traffic westbound on the San Bernardino, desiring to go south on Freeway 605, was being diverted at the Puente Avenue offramp to the east of the collapse, being routed to Valley Boulevard, and thence to 605.

Francis Fresner, an assistant bridge engineer for the California Division of Highways, said the collapse could have been caused by a flaw in one of the vertical steel posts used to sup-
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FREEWAY: See Page 3

Star-News, Pasadena, California, Monday, May 25, 1970, Page 3.

Freeway . . .

Continued from Page 1

vertical steel posts used to support the structure during the curing process.

Huge Weight

Fresner estimated that more than four million pounds of steel and concrete fell to the roadway.

A California Highway Patrol officer at the scene said it was a fluke that only one vehicle had been involved. At the time of the collapse, normally 10 to 15 vehicles are passing the point where the bridge fell, he said.

The Highway Patrol promptly issued a Sigalert, notifying motorists to avoid the intersection for 24 hours, the estimated time required to clean up the debris.

The cost of the collapsed bridge was estimated to be $300,000.

Image: SIX LANES DOWN--California authorities are investigating collapse of this six-lane 150-foot freeway span that cost $300,000. It links the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Freeways at Baldwin Park. The collapse occurred four days after the concrete was poured, and a pickup truck driver was crushed to death under the pile of rubble.

Source: "The Register", Danville, Virginia, Sunday, May 31, 1970, Page 7-D.



Daily Facts, Redlands, California, Monday, May 25, 1970, Page 1.

Bridge on S.B. freeway collapses at Baldwin Park

BALDWIN PARK (UPI)--The interchange of the San Bernardine Freeway and Interstate 605 was closed for 24 hours today after a new $300,000 bridge collapsed, spilling millions of pounds of rubble and killing one person.

Both freeways remained in use, but motorists were advised to take an alternate route if they wished to change from one to another.

The concrete and steel bridge buckled during rush hour traffic this morning.

A pickup truck was flattened by the chunks of concrete and its driver was killed. It took rescue workers several hours to reach the vehicle.

The last concrete in the 150-foot bridge was poured last Thursday and was not yet "cured." Francis Fresner, an assistant bridge engineer for the California Division of Highways, said the collapse could have been caused by a flaw in one of the vertical steel posts used to support the structure while it dried out.

Fressner estimated more than four million pounds of steel and concrete fell to the roadway. The collapse occurred at 7:40 a.m. during the morning rush hour and the California Highway Patrol said it was a fluke that only one car was passing below at the time.
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The interchange has been popular with Redlands' motorists who leave 10 at this point and go south on 605 to connect with the Pomona freeway or to continue south.

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Image: MAN CRUSHED -- An unidentified man was crushed to death as he drove his pickup truck beneath this freeway bridge under construction at Baldwin Park, east of Los Angeles. More than 3,000 tons of concrete poured last Thursday, fell when supports collapsed. (AP Wirephoto)

Source: "Manitowoc Herald-Times", Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Tuesday, May 26, 1970, Page 1.


The Star-News, Pasadena, California, Tuesday, May 26, 1970, Page 3.

Workmen Cleaning Up After Bridge Collapse

Bulldozers and dump trucks worked today to clear away 6 million pounds of concrete and rubble left from the Baldwin Park bridge collapse Monday that killed a San Dimas trucker. The job was expected to last until Wednesday.

The man who died under eight feet of concrete slabs and steel girders of the newly constructed freeway ramp was identified as Ray B. Dooley, 67, of 1205 W. Cypress St.

His 1955 pickup truck was squashed to a height of 12 inches, with him in its cab. Officials said it was only a fluke that more rush-hour drivers were not trapped.

The off-ramp, for westbound traffic on the San Bernardino Freeway wanting to proceed to the southbound lanes of the San Gabriel River Freeway (605), was not open to traffic. Dooley was negotiating a transition road beneath it.

Through-traffic on the two freeways was moving normally today after the ramp's 7:40 a.m. collapse Monday.

It took county firemen and construction workers at least eight hours to dig through the rubble of the $300,000 bridge to reach Dooley.

He was traveling from the westbound San Bernardino to the southbound San Gabriel River Freeway. His truck cab was crushed by a steel beam. The truck was registered to Marshburn Farms of Buena Park, Orange County.


The Press-Courier, Oxnard, California, Tuesday, May 26, 1970, Page 1.

Picture Caption:
WORKERS SEARCH FOR BODY OF TRUCK DRIVER BURIED IN BRIDGE COLLAPSE

The new $300,000 freeway bridge near Baldwin Park fell onto transition ramp. - AP Wirephoto

Probe Begins Into Collapse Of Road Span

BALDWIN PARK, Calif. (UPI) -- State authorities today began an investigation into the collapse of a new $300,000 freeway bridge that crushed a motorist in four million pounds of steel and concrete rubble.

Francis Fresner, an assistant bridge engineer for the California Division of Highways, said a preliminary report indicated the collapse could have been caused by flaws in the posts and beams that support the cement of the bridge while it dries.

Image: Rescuers attempt to reach motorist trapped under collapsed off-ramp. --Photo by Bob McDonald.

Source: "The Press-Telegram", Long Beach, California, Monday, May 25, 1970, Page 1.


The 150-foot, six-lane span, the cement of which was poured last Thursday and was not yet "cured," fell Monday morning onto a transition ramp from the San Bernardino Freeway to the San Gabriel Freeway.

A pickup truck driven by Ray B. Dooley, 67, San Dimas, Calif., was flattened in the collapse. It took rescue teams more than three hours to dig through six feet of rubble to reach the truck and recover Dooley's body.

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