Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and other local officials plan to hold a news conference at 6 a.m. Monday morning to update Angelenos on the closure of the 10 Freeway through downtown Los Angeles.
The public has been warned the freeway could be shut down for a long time after a massive pallet yard fire over the weekend prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency to help facilitate cleanup and repairs.
The fire was first reported early Saturday around 12:30 a.m. near East 14th and Alameda streets underneath the freeway. It engulfed both sides of 14th Street underneath the 10, eventually melting some of the freeway’s steel guardrails and damaging firetrucks.
The governor said the investigation into the cause of the fire should finish Monday morning, which would allow for more hazmat work to proceed. That needs to happen before engineers can get a better look at the damage to the freeway.
“Our structural engineers need to assess the integrity of the bridge columns, and also assess fully the deck underneath the bridge,” California Secretary of Transportation Toks Omishakin said. “We want to do this safely and let our engineers do their work and make their assessments so that repairs can get on the way as quickly as possible.”
The blaze forced officials to close the freeway between Alameda Street and Santa Fe Avenue in both directions and prompted several interchanges to be shut down.
The following closures will remain in place until further notice:
- Northbound 5 Freeway to westbound 10 Freeway
- Southbound 5 Freeway to westbound 10 Freeway
- Westbound 60 Freeway to westbound 10 Freeway
- The westbound 10 Freeway on-ramp at Soto Street
- The eastbound 10 Freeway on-ramp at Alameda Street
- The westbound 10 Freeway on-ramp at Santa Fe Avenue
Newsom and Bass toured the site Sunday but offered no timetable for the reopening of the freeway.
Few details were initially provided about the entity leasing the property but the governor said their lease had expired and that litigation was ongoing.
There were also reports that more than a dozen people were living at an encampment near where the fire started. Those people have been put into housing and no injuries were reported, according to the mayor.
Local officials urged people to avoid the area as much as possible and use public transportation to get into downtown L.A. in the near future.
Los Angeles Unified School District students were informed Sunday that all schools and offices would be open Monday.
Angelenos are encouraged to stay updated on road closures, alternate route suggestions, additional transportation options and freeway repair estimates from Caltrans by regularly visiting L.A.’s Emergency Management Department website.
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