Exclusive: LA Mayor Karen Bass takes first aerial tour of 10 Freeway closure

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Wednesday, November 15, 2023
LA Mayor Karen Bass takes first aerial tour of 10 Freeway closure
Eyewitness News joined L.A. Mayor Karen Bass on an aerial tour as she surveyed the 10 Freeway closure and the surrounding traffic issues.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With news that the 10 Freeway in downtown will remain closed for the coming weeks, Eyewitness News was invited to join Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass on her first aerial tour of the closure and the surrounding traffic issues.

Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Kristen Crowley was also onboard for the tour.

From the air, crews were seen working to clear debris and begin repairs at the sight of Saturday's fire.

RELATED: 10 Freeway in DTLA will not be demolished, expected to reopen within 3-5 weeks, Newsom says

The damaged portion of the 10 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles will not need to be demolished.

An empty 10 Freeway provided an eerie sight. Traffic moved on surrounding freeways, but surface streets through downtown Los Angeles was a different story. Bass and Crowley noted the heavy traffic on surface streets.

The freeway was not as bad as expected, but the big takeaway: stay on the freeway, don't take surface streets through downtown.

The mayor told Eyewitness News that commuters think avoiding freeways will be faster, but surface streets aren't designed for this many cars and that's where the backup is taking place.

"The message is pay attention to the instructions. It is very well organized if you do that. It will save the commuters time," Crowley said.

The fire has raised major concerns about what's stored under our freeways, what should and should not be there - something the mayor and the fire department are currently examining.

"It raises the question of the fact that the land under the freeways is leased out, and this was a rogue person who decided to use their lease and then sublease to a number of different people, which meant - what kind of control would you have?" Bass said. "I don't think there is any evidence at this point to suggest that it was unhoused people who started this fire."