- The collapsed portion of a fire-damaged stretch of I-10 in Los Angeles could reopen in three to five weeks, California officials said at a press conference Tuesday.
- Governor Gavin Newsom had declared a state of emergency Saturday and pledged to repair as soon as possible the 10-lane wide, 450-foot long section of elevated freeway supported by approximately 100 columns. The span, which is part of a pivotal freight artery, remains indefinitely closed.
- By early Tuesday, shoring had begun on the damaged pillars and trucks had begun moving debris out of the site, Newsom said during the press conference. Engineers also tested samples from the site that led officials to conclude a demolition would not be necessary.
Photos of the collapse showed fire-scorched and crumbling columns under the bridge deck, as well as twisted guardrails warped from a fire that began at a storage yard underneath the roadway, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Newsom said that the state took legal action months ago to eject the lessee of the site, Apex Development Inc., a Southern California construction company, for failing to pay rent and violating its lease agreement by subletting the property without state and federal approval. Apex Development did not immediately respond to Construction Dive’s request for comment Tuesday.
Newsom’s office said the emergency declaration would facilitate cleanup and repair work on the highway. The governor’s edict also directed Caltrans, California’s department of transportation, to formally request assistance through the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program, if appropriate. Shailen Blatt, administrator of the FHWA, toured the site Monday.
Approximately 300,000 vehicles a day transit the span, a vital connector for cargo streaming in and out of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Those ports handled more than a third of loaded import containers nationwide during the first eight months of 2023, according to data collected by Supply Chain Dive. The Associated Press reported President Joe Biden has been briefed on the impacts of the fire.
Newsom called the damage "substantially greater” than a portion of Interstate 95 that collapsed on the East Coast in June after a tanker truck caught fire underneath it, according to CNN. While that repair was ultimately completed in two weeks at a cost of between $25 million to $30 million, officials in Los Angeles Monday did not put a timeline or cost estimate on fixing the roadway. The Associated Press reported that damage from a 2011 fire caused by a fuel tanker on State Route 60 east of Los Angeles took six months to repair at a cost of $40 million.
In a post on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg pledged the federal government’s support, saying the U.S. Department of Transportation “will help any way we can.”
Edwin Lopez contributed to this story.