By SDCN Editor
Los Angeles, CA–Following Monday morning’s reopening announcement by Governor Gavin Newsom, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) reopened Interstate-10 at 6:30 p.m., weeks earlier than the original estimate for repairs.
Traffic is now flowing on five lanes in each direction between Alameda Street and the East Los Angeles interchange, ahead of tomorrow morning’s commute and before the Thanksgiving holiday, reducing the disruption to Los Angeles commuters.
The announcement, eight days since the massive fire, comes far ahead of the original project schedule and was made possible because of the around-the-clock efforts of crews and engineers on and off-site, better-than-expected structural testing results, rapid debris removal, and close coordination between state, local, and federal government officials to safely expedite repairs of a major freeway that is a critical backbone to the American and global economy.
As repairs continue over the coming months, the public should expect some temporary closures on occasional weekends and overnight, along with intermittent lane closures.
“What began as months has turned into days before Angellenos hit the road on Monday, we’re opening the 10 back up,” Governor Newsom said Monday. “Thanks to the tireless work of Caltrans and union construction crews and with help from our partners-from the mayor’s office to the White House-the 10’s expedited repair is proof and a point of pride that here in California, we deliver.”
The 10 Freeway fire began on a site rented by Apex Development, Inc. (Apex). Two months prior to the fire, Caltrans sued Apex, seeking to remove the company from the leased property for failing to pay its rent and subletting the property without authorization. A hearing is set for early 2024 in that lawsuit. Apex was responsible for maintaining the fenced-off site while they continued to assert rights under the lease.
Last weekend, Governor Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in Los Angeles County to support the state’s response. The proclamation facilitates clean-up and repair work and directs Caltrans to request assistance through the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program, which the state secured.
The 10 Freeway is a major artery that serves hundreds of thousands of Angelenos daily. After testing samples and assessing damage from the site, state transportation officials determined the damage could be repaired without demolishing and rebuilding the 450-foot span of the freeway, which could have taken upwards of 6 months. Union crews continue to work around the clock to get the freeway open by tomorrow morning. While I-10 is closed to all vehicles, Caltrans workers are seizing this traffic-free opportunity to carry out a wide-ranging “swarm” maintenance operation – sweeping, repairing bridge railings and broken concrete, painting over graffiti, cleaning drains and culverts, removing litter, weeds, and overgrown vegetation, and sealing broken access doors.
Cal Fire’s investigation into the fire — suspected to be arson — remains ongoing. A person of interest has been identified and members of the public are encouraged to provide any leads or tips, which can be sent anonymously to the CAL FIRE Arson Hotline at 1-800-468-4408 or email@example.com.