Los Angeles commuters faced traffic chaos Monday after a major weekend fire forced it to close indefinitely. Interstate 10One of the main traffic arteries of the city.
Mayor Karen Bass described the situation as a “crisis” for a city already in crisis Known for its traffic problems. He urged commuters to prepare for delays and plan alternate routes while transit is shut down in both directions near Alameda Street in the city’s downtown area.
Ahead of the Monday morning commute, a citywide alert was sent to residents’ cell phones warning that the freeway would be “indefinitely closed” and “expect significant traffic.”
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More than 300,000 vehicles travel through the freeway each day, California Governor Gavin Newsom said.
“This is a significant outcome for the economy, the health and safety of Angelenos,” Newsom said. “The impact on our schools, on vulnerable communities — we take all of that very seriously, and we’re being calm and careful in our rush to get this open.”
The city is scrambling to assess the safety of the roadway and repair damage caused by the raging fire. According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, a storage yard early Saturday morning spread under the freeway, igniting a second storage facility and eventually engulfing about 80,000 square feet and destroying several vehicles.
Caltrans District 7/AP
This photo provided by the California Department of Transportation shows a fire early Saturday morning on Interstate 10 near Los Angeles.
There was no estimated timeline for reopening the stretch of interstate, but Bass warned Sunday that the issue “isn’t going to be resolved in a day or two.”
The state transport department has urged commuters to work from home or use public transport if possible.
Nearby school bus routes may also change, although public schools will remain open, according to the LA Unified School District declared.
Port of Los Angeles It warned commuters to prepare for Monday morning traffic, flagging updates and detours.
Newsom declared a state of emergency to Los Angeles County due to the closure and said he would assess the damage and begin repairs as soon as the site was accessible.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement He said he was in contact with California officials and that the federal highway administrator was expected in Los Angeles on Monday.
The state fire department is investigating the cause of the fire. That investigation is expected to conclude Monday morning, Newsom said at a news conference Sunday.
Caltrans District 7/AP
A Los Angeles firefighter uses a robotic hose to extinguish a fire under Interstate 10 that severely damaged an overpass in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday.
Once a hazardous materials investigation is complete, structural engineers can move in to determine the extent of the damage, city and state officials said.
Hazmat crews will be working around the clock to clean up the damage along Interstate 10, according to Newsom, who said the extent of the damage from the fire is “significantly high.” Collapse of a portion of Interstate 95 in Philadelphia In June.
“You name it, we’ve seen it stored at this site,” said Newsom, who toured the site Sunday. Wooden pallets, gas-filled cars and orange boxes have all been found under the Los Angeles Bridge, officials said.
According to the fire department, around 12:30 a.m. Saturday, firefighters responded to reports of a 200-by-200-foot storage yard with “pallets, trailers and vehicles well engulfed in flames” and exposed structures.
Los Angeles firefighters mop up damage from a fire that severely damaged Interstate 10 near downtown Los Angeles on Saturday.
“The wind pushed the heat and flames under the freeway and ignited the secondary storage yard across the street,” Fire Chief Christine Crowley said Sunday.
Most of the fire was extinguished within three hours and firefighters were able to save three nearby commercial buildings, Crowley said. More than 160 firefighters responded to the incident, he added.
A fire department official said there was no loss of life in the fire.
Asked by reporters why flammable materials were allowed to be stored under the bridge, the governor said, “It is all being evaluated.”
Newsom said the site’s tenant is in breach of their lease. “We’re on the case, their lease has expired and we’re serious about addressing the concerns about the lease,” he said.
Newsom said the tenant “subletted the premises … with multiple subleases, which is part of the litigation position.”