Los Angeles will face a traffic nightmare following a massive fire Saturday that shut down the I-10 freeway near downtown.
The I-10 freeway’s closure reportedly will be indefinite, disrupting hundreds of thousands of daily Los Angeles commuters.
The suspected origin of the fire is a homeless encampment underneath the freeway.
Newsom declared a state of emergency after a massive fire broke out in Los Angeles causing a major freeway to shut down. Many suspect it started in a homeless encampment littered with drugs housed under the freeway.
Did you know that in 2021 there was an average of 25 fires a… pic.twitter.com/oRcMRF27MN
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) November 13, 2023
Interstate 10 is closed in both directions in downtown LA between Alameda St. & East LA interchange. Caltrans is assessing damage from a fire under I-10 & will reopen I-10 as soon as possible. In the meantime, use other routes! Here’s a peek under the freeway. pic.twitter.com/tuuiegdCpV
— Caltrans District 7 (@CaltransDist7) November 12, 2023
“An estimated 300,000 commuters are impacted by the massive fire that damaged the 10 Freeway near downtown Los Angeles on Saturday,” KTLA 5 reports.
“The freeway will be closed from Alameda Street to Santa Fe Avenue is indefinitely, creating a traffic nightmare,” the outlet added.
The news outlet reported from the scene:
— KTLA (@KTLA) November 13, 2023
From KTLA 5:
The blaze was first reported early Saturday around 12:30 a.m. at a pallet yard underneath the freeway near East 14th and Alameda streets. It engulfed both sides of 14th Street underneath the 10, eventually melting some of the freeway’s steel guardrails and damaging firetrucks, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
In a press conference on Sunday, Mayor Bass, along with officials from the L.A. Department of Transportation and Metro among others, said commuters who need to travel to or through downtown L.A. will need to prepare alternative routes, leave earlier than normal and plan for delays.
“It’s of significant consequence to the economy, to the health and safety of Angelenos,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said, according to CNN.
“The impact to our schools, to vulnerable communities – all of that we take very seriously, and we’re sober and mindful of the urgency to get this open,” he added.
The city is scrambling to assess the safety of the roadway and repair the damage caused by a raging fire at a storage yard early Saturday that spread under the freeway to ignite a second storage facility, ultimately engulfing about 80,000 square feet and destroying several vehicles, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
There is no estimated timeline for reopening the stretch of the interstate, but Bass warned Sunday the issue “is not going to be resolved in one or two days.”
The state’s transportation department urged commuters to work from home or take public transportation, if possible.
Nearby school bus routes are also likely to change, though public schools will remain open, the LA Unified School District announced.Advertisement
The Port of Los Angeles warned travelers to prepare for heavy traffic Monday morning, flagging updates and alternate routes.
Newsom has declared a state of emergency for Los Angeles County due to the closure and said the state would assess the damage and begin making repairs as soon as the site could be accessed.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement that he was in touch with California officials, adding that the federal highways administrator is expected in Los Angeles on Monday.
The state fire marshal is investigating the cause of the blaze. That investigation is expected to conclude Monday morning, Newsom said at a Sunday news conference.
KTLA 5 provided the latest updates on the I-10 freeway’s indefinite closure: