10 Freeway in LA re-opens, and the commute begins anew – Daily News

The sun starts to rise over the I-10 freeway in Los Angeles on Sunday, November 19, 2023 before Gov. Gavin Newsom announced during a press conference the re-opening by Sunday evening. Part of the freeway was damaged in a fire and has been closed. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Months. Weeks. Days. Now.

A once-shuttered Downtown Los Angeles stretch of the 10 Freeway opened in both directions on Sunday evening, Nov.19 — a stunning development after officials just days before said its fire-scorched damage would take weeks to repair.

Just like that, the stretch, between Alameda Street and the East Los Angeles interchange, just after dark on Sunday began to fill up buzz with the hustle and bustle that Angelenos are used to on the key east-west artery in and out of the city’s core and beyond.

The California Highway Patrol declared the lanes open on the social media app X, formerly Twitter, just a tick before 7 p.m.


— CHP_LA_TRAFFIC (@CHP_LA_TRAFFIC) November 20, 2023

For the record: The eastbound lanes reopened at 5:36 p.m. and the westbound lanes at 6:56 p.m., according to CHP Officer Stephan Brandt.

Meanwhile, workers are continuing their repair work under the freeway, Brandt said. The surprise reopening comes two days before the scheduled reopening was planned.

“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,” said a Sunday night statement from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office.

“This is a great day in our city,” said L.A. Mayor Karen Bass, joined at daybreak Sunday morning on the then still closed freeway by an all-star cast of elected officials — Vice President Kamala Harris, who has a home in L.A., along with Gov. Gavin Newsom, U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla, an L.A.-area native, and Caltrans District 7 Director Gloria Roberts — with the workers and crews who made their announcement possible providing the backdrop. The group declared that the mile-long section of the fire-scarred freeway would be open for Monday’s commute.

And as darkness fell, that promise was kept.

Even with Sunday’s opening, crews continued work repairing the freeway, badly damaged amid Nov. 11’s intense arson-set fire, fueled to mammoth levels by wooden pallets, vehicles and other goods burning beneath a roughly 450-foot span of the freeway overpass at the 1700 block of E. 14th Street.

Authorities on Saturday released photos and a description of a man they want to question in connection with the fire that damaged a part of the 10 Freeway in Los Angeles last weekend, and they are asking for the public’s help in identifying and locating him.

The man was described as being 30 to 35 years old and 6-feet tall, according to Cal Fire. He was seen on surveillance wearing a black hoodie, blue shorts, gray shoes and a green scarf with a knee brace on his right knee and a dark-colored backpack. Cal Fire officials also said his left leg may have been burned.

The investigation into the fire continues, in partnership with L.A. Fire Department and Caltrans. Results of the probe, Newsom said, would be released “as early as Wednesday.”

Going forward, there will be some “episodic” closures of the freeway lanes, mostly at night, Gov. Gavin Newsom said, during what had become a steady stream of news conferences though last week announcing increasingly shorter and shorter timelines for when the stretch would reopen. Initially, experts said the freeway could be off-line for upwards of six months.

The governor also noted that the Alameda Street ramp will remain closed for now, and Lawrence St., between 10th and 14th Street, will stay closed for a time. Permanent fixes on some corridors will likely take several weeks to complete.

“This is a significant and big day,” he said, adding that those closures will not impede the flow of the traffic on the five lanes in both directions.

The vice president praised the union workers who often put in “as many as 14 hours a day.”

Harris added: “It’s extraordinary work that happened here. Tomorrow the commute is back on — and happy Thanksgiving.”

That means the thoroughfare will be open ahead of one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.

“The greatest thanks really goes to the contractors and laborers who have been working so hard and around the clock,” said Gloria Roberts, Caltrans District 7 director, who also thanked “the city of L.A. and Angelenos for their patience.”

Padilla said Angelenos “don’t have to wait for Thursday to give thanks for the opening — before the Thanksgiving holiday — of the 1-10 Freeway, for folks who are working this week, folks who’ll be traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, and to give thanks to all the workers who made this possible. We can’t thank them enough.”

Caltrans’ goal has been to shore up pillars, using more than 100 tons of large steel beams and enough 12-by-12-inch heavy wooden posts to stretch over a mile if placed end to end. Caltrans officials said three dozen hydraulic jacks, each able to lift 100 tons, were being used to place the beams and posts.

The contractors carrying out the repair work, Caltrans said, were able to fit twice as many workers under the 10 Freeway overpass because there are fewer pillars to repair, which means more space under the overpass for the crews — another development that is helping to speed up the work.

Much of the work was possible only because contractors worked “around the clock,” to clear detritus and hazardous materials from beneath the overpass, officials said.

“It wasn’t just speed that we were after, we wanted to make sure this thing was safe,” Newsom said Sunday, noting that crews’ inspections on Saturday night and early Sunday confirmed that safety.

It was that speed, coupled with less structural damage than originally thought, that prompted Newsom and L.A. Bass to jointly announced on Thursday that the freeway would open in both directions by Tuesday at the latest. That was already a significant fast forward in the timeline from the up to five weeks Newsom had announced earlier in the week.

All this after some were thinking the stretch might have to be demolished and rebuilt. It didn’t hurt that Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency, effectively unlocking major funding for a freeway fix. Newsom also noted Sunday it didn’t hurt that Harris, the vice president, lives in L.A.

The declaration enabled local governments to access federal funding assistance with haste and helped speed up response times to handle a crisis likened to actions following the Northridge Earthquake, when freeways crumpled by the devastating temblor needed immediate repair.

Shortly after Newsom’s decree, Caltrans secured a $3 million funding pot from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration — which essentially offset the costs of the initial repair work on the freeway to ensure it got underway quickly.

The total cost of the freeway fix is still undetermined — but Newsom’s office has said the state expects the federal government to reimburse California for “nearly likely all costs.”

Padilla said the repair bill will be covered by federal funds, “thanks to the bipartisan infrastructure law that was passed and signed a couple of years ago.” He estimated that the cost would be in the $3 million range, and Newsom later echoed that it was “in the low millions.”

Aside from the structural repair work, Caltrans workers are also taking advantage of the 10 Freeway’s complete closure to complete a series of other maintenance upgrades, Newsom’s office said on Friday. They include sweeping; bridge railing and broken concrete repairs; drain and culvert cleaning; litter and overgrown vegetation removal; painting over graffiti; and sealing broken freeway access doors.

The freeway opening came at the end of a particularly bustling weekend in downtown L.A. and surrounding areas.

There was the L.A. Auto Show’s opening weekend at the L.A. Convention Center and a USC vs. UCLA football game at the Coliseum on Saturday, along with an L.A. Kings game at Crypto.com Arena. And on Sunday, there was an L.A. Rams game at SoFi Stadium and a Lakers game at Crypto.com Arena, among other events.

The mile-long stretch of Interstate 10 routinely handles as many as 300,000 vehicles a day. During the eight-day shutdown, freeway delays were reported around the region, increasing by as much as 30% in many places. The shutdown took a bigger toll on local surface streets, which were jammed with traffic, sometimes around the clock.

The shutdown tool its toll on small local businesses in the area. Some were forced to close by the sprawling fire, others were beset by gridlock on surrounding streets each day.

Bass scheduled meetings with business owners around the freeway as officials scrambled to provide assistance.

“During this difficult time and beyond, my message is the same — Los Angeles stands with businesses,” the mayor said.

City Councilman Kevin de Leon is expected to announce on Monday the opening of a Business Resource Center to support those impacted by the 10 fire.

The councilman’s office has organized a press event that morning in collaboration with the Downtown Industrial Business Improvement District and various city departments to provide details on the support available to businesses impacted by the closure of the freeway between Alameda Street and the East Los Angeles interchange.

The opening of the resource center follows an emergency motion passed by the City Council last week that directed the Economic and Workforce Development Department to reach out to local businesses affected by the fire, the freeway closure and the associated street detours. The department was also tasked with helping to identify local, state and federal resources to mitigate the impact.

Officials have been aware of conditions under the freeway where the fire began for years.

State inspectors flagged fire hazards and other lease violations year after year at the site, yet Caltrans did not initiate the eviction process against the tenant until this August, 3 1/2 years after the company stopped paying rent, according to documents released last week.

Caltrans released a small portion of its inspection records late Friday as the “initial step” in a “thorough examination of its 600-plus Airspace leases at sites around highways statewide.” California’s airspace leasing program rents out state-owned land beneath freeways and bridges as a revenue source for mass transportation projects.

The state, at Newsom’s direction, is planning a “top-to-bottom” review that will inventory every airspace site, track its proximity to sensitive structures and other potential risks. Cal Fire and the Los Angeles Fire Department will jointly inspect the leased lands locally. The reviews will continue until Caltrans is “confident all lease sites comply with state and federal law and do not pose a safety risk” to the public or state infrastructure.

Aside from the structural repair work, Caltrans workers are also taking advantage of the 10 Freeway’s complete closure to complete a series of other maintenance upgrades, Newsom’s office said on Friday. They include sweeping; bridge railing and broken concrete repairs; drain and culvert cleaning; litter and overgrown vegetation removal; painting over graffiti; and sealing broken freeway access doors.

Amid the hubbub, Bass said Metro ridership increased some 10% last week, adding that she hoped many of those residents and workers will continue to make more use of public transportation going forward.

Los Angeles Metro staff was directed by its board of directors — which includes Bass — to offer additional incentives for riders in the hope of encouraging folks to steer clear of the repair area.

Those directives include a further reduced fare for riders enrolled in Metro’s LIFE (Low Income Fare is Easy) program, coordination with local jurisdictions to speed up trains and buses in the closure area, and an increase the number of “Transit Ambassadors’” on the system to assist riders.

“As life gets back to normal over the next few days, I hope Angelenos, who anticipated and joined Metro and rode Metro for the first time, will understand what a convenience it is,” Bass said.

But for now, heading into Thanksgiving week, commuters on four wheels have something to be thankful for.

City News Service contributed to this report. 


Source link

SEO Blog Posts For Attorneys
Attorneys and law firms can elevate their online presence with professionally written content from SEO Content Writing Services monthly plan. Our team of experienced writers specializes in crafting blog posts, articles, and written content that accurately reflect the expertise and knowledge of our clients in the legal field. With a keen eye for detail and a thorough understanding of legal terminology, we provide high-quality writing that helps our clients stand out from their competition and engage with their target audience. Trust SEO Content Writing Services for one time article writing or monthly written content to handle all of your written content needs and showcase your law firm's expertise.
If you need written content, blog posts, or articles professionally written for your website, we can help. Go HERE to find out more.
or email us here: myseowritingservices@gmail.com
To find out more about our article writing or blog post services, fill out the form, thank you.

Leave a Reply

Home Privacy Policy Terms Of Use Contact Us Affiliate Disclosure DMCA Earnings Disclaimer