The I-10 Freeway in Los Angeles opened in both directions on Sunday, November 19, after a fire eight days earlier forced its closure. The reopening happened weeks ahead of schedule according to a press statement from the California Governor’s office thanks to a “round-the-clock” effort by state officials and employees who removed debris from the site of the fire and shored up the columns underneath I-10.
Traffic is now flowing on five lanes in each direction between Alameda Street and the East Los Angeles interchange, the statement continued. “What began as months has turned into days,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said at a news conference alongside Vice President Kamala Harris.
On November 11, a 450-foot stretch of I-10 in an industrial zone near downtown Los Angeles was affected by an intense fire started at a nearby storage yard. The fire touched approximately 100 columns which were eventually demolished and replaced. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) said in a press statement November 17 that they had identified a “subject of interest” they believed could have been behind the fire.
Officials originally said that it would take 250 workers between 3 and 5 weeks to fix the effected area; instead those repairs happened in just eight days. “It wasn’t just speed that we were after. We wanted to make sure this thing was safe,” Newsom continued. On November 19, L.A. Mayor Karen Bass tweeted footage from I-10 announcing the opening.
The 10 is BACK! All lanes are open in both directions as are most on and off ramps.
This is what happens when we work together — NOTHING can stop Los Angeles. pic.twitter.com/He2PiOErFa
— Karen Bass (@KarenBassLA) November 20, 2023
Federal funds were used for the repairs which totaled $3 million. “This is a great day in our city,” L.A. Mayor Karen Bass said in a press statement upon the re-opening. “Let me thank everyone who worked 24 hours to make this effort happen.”
Approximately 300,000 motorists use the elevated freeway daily. Apex Development bought the land segment under I-10 where the fire took place in 2008. On several occasions, state inspectors found that Apex had wrongfully stored flammable and hazardous materials on site according to. “This is a filthy unmaintained lease,” inspector Daryl Myatt said in a 2022 report. “This area has been utilized since the mid-1970s and looks like it.”
A similar incident happened in Philadelphia this summer when a truck caught fire under I-95 collapsing the highway structure and forcing a closure.
A livestream of I-10 shows construction workers still working hard to make repairs.