An aerial picture shows burnt cars and other debris under the I-10 freeway after a large fire led to the shutdown of the freeway, also called the Santa Monica Freeway, in both directions, in Los Angeles on Nov. 13, 2023. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)
The fire-damaged I-10 Freeway
in Los Angeles is expected to reopen in three to five weeks, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Nov. 14.
Thousands of commuters crawled through traffic again Tuesday taking detours around a stretch of the main artery that remained closed after a massive fire engulfed part of the structure early Nov. 11.
The fire was set intentionally, state fire officials determined Monday, but they have not identified the arsonist. Investigators continued to search for evidence around and in the immediate area Tuesday, talking to homeless people and business owners near the scorched pallet yard underneath the overpass on the 1700 block of East 14th Street.
The roadway from the East Los Angeles interchange at Interstate-110 to Alameda Street will remain closed until at least mid-December, creating traffic angst among the 300,000 drivers and commuters who depend on the freeway to get to downtown Los Angeles each day.
Drivers were encouraged to take public transit or allow extra time to get to their destinations during the shutdown. The city also suggested businesses allow workers to telecommute.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said Tuesday’s news about reopening the freeway wouldn’t alter the around-the-clock work to restore the area.
“We just got word that preliminary sample results show that we expect the 10 Freeway to be reopened to traffic in weeks as opposed to months,” Ms. Bass said in a post on X Tuesday. “This doesn’t change the urgency that we’re working with. Our crews will continue to work 24 hours, 7 days a week to get this done.”
More than 100 columns were damaged during the three-hour fire that started after midnight Saturday. About 10 of the columns were severely damaged, but initial testing of the torched concrete came back better than anticipated, Mr. Newsom said Monday during a press conference.
The area where the fire started is leased by Apex Development, Inc., a Calabasas-based paving company, which leases five locations in the city. The company did not return a call for comment.
The state is suing the company for not complying with terms of its lease and has been out of compliance for some time, according to Mr. Newsom.
The fire consumed two wooden pallet yards, multiple vehicles, fruits and vegetables, and hazardous materials, according to officials.
Just days after the I-10 incident, another fire was reported near the I-105 and I-110 freeways at around 7 a.m. Tuesday, KTLA reported
. Flames from the fire were seen by commuters driving near the interchange.
Footage from the news station’s helicopter showed a patch of land burning near homes next to the ramp between the eastbound 105 and southbound 110. The flames appeared to have spread from a homeless encampment to nearby brush, the station reported.
Neither Los Angeles city officials or county fire departments officials were available to confirm the incident.
An aerial view of the empty Interstate-10 freeway, also called the Santa Monica Freeway, in both directions, in Los Angeles on Nov. 13, 2023. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)