Los Angeles residents will have to wait three to five weeks before they can access the Interstate 10 freeway.
The state will be making repairs to the freeway’s bridge deck and columns after a massive fire charred and chipped 100 columns – with 9 or 10 severely damaged, said Gov. Gavin Newsom at a news conference on Tuesday.
The California Department of Transportation evaluated core samples from the upper deck of the freeway to evaluate the structural damage before making the determination, Newsom said. The blaze also twisted the freeway deck guardrails.
State officials were considering a rebuild of the freeway if it could not be repaired, Newsom said.
“This will not be a demo. We will not need to demolish and replace the I-10,” Newsom said at the site of the damage. “We will continue the kind of repairs you’re seeing being done behind me and continue a shoring plan to shore up this site.”
The highway remained closed on Tuesday between Alameda Street and the East L.A. Interchange, according to the California Department of Transportation.
The fire was set intentionally and maliciously, State Fire Marshall Daniel Berlant said at a news conference Monday. The case is under investigation as an act of arson.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass: ‘We need Angelenos to work together’
On Monday, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass urged commuters to downtown Los Angeles to take public transportation or work from home due to the major transportation disruptions.
“Angelenos, it’s good news!” Bass said at the news conference on Tuesday. “But it’s still 3 to 5 weeks in Los Angeles for this freeway not to be in operation … We need Angelenos to work together; to not turn against each other.” She said she’s heard several stories about road rage since the onset of the disruption.
Downtown commuters urged to stay on freeways, take public transportation
Los Angeles commuters should use the E, J or A Line Metro trains to access downtown Los Angeles, Los Angeles County MTA CEO Stephanie Wiggins said.
Drivers who need to use using the interstate should stay on the freeway and avoid local streets and people going downtown should use “surface streets,” Los Angeles Department of Transportation General Manager Laura Rubio-Cornejo said.
“It is critical that drivers heed the signs and traffic officer instructions in order to maintain the safe movement of people through the impacted area,” she said.
Gov. Newsom on freeway repairs: ’24-hour operation, 7 days a week – rain or shine’
The state is working to mitigate the impact and work quickly, Newsom said. Debris removal will be complete in the next few days, he said. And the reparation process is a “a 24-hour operation, 7 days a week – rain or shine,” he said.
“We’re going to do everything in our power to move that in to the more immediate future and not extend this to that five-week period,” he said.
Contact Kayla Jimenez at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on X, formerly Twitter, at @kaylajjimenez.