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

ByJosh Haskell, Leanne Suter, and ABC7.com staff KABC logo
Wednesday, November 15, 2023
10 Freeway in DTLA expected to reopen within 3-5 weeks
The damaged portion of the 10 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles will not need to be demolished.

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The fire-damaged portion of the 10 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles will not need to be demolished, and at least some lanes are expected to reopen within a matter of weeks, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday.

Newsom announced the finding after analysis of core samples taken from the freeway, a vital artery that hundreds of thousands of vehicles use daily.

As crews continue repair work, the governor said the current estimated reopening time frame is 3-5 weeks, though he noted that may not include the reopening of all lanes. He said the repair work currently being done will get at least four of the five lanes open by then.

"We're going to do everything in our power to move that into the more immediate future and not extend this to that five-week period," Newsom said during a press conference.

About 100 columns were damaged in the Saturday fire that officials say was started by arson.

"There will be, as we get these lanes open, some nighttime repair work, so there'll be some periodic closures," he said.

Where is the 10 Freeway closed?

The mile-long closure is between Alameda Street and the East Los Angeles Interchange in both directions.

What do the surface streets look like?

On Tuesday, Mayor Karen Bass got a bird's-eye view of the repair work during a helicopter tour, allowing her to see what traffic looked like in the area from above.

During an evening news conference, she said there is definitely plenty more congestion on surface streets near the closure, making the area much more difficult to maneuver.

"It was very, very obvious that when people did not stay on the freeway and decided to get on the surface streets, the surface streets look like an absolute parking lot. I know sometimes when you have your apps, when you're looking at Google Maps or Waze, it tells you to stay on the freeway but you want to deviate ... that is not the thing to do right now."

She urged commuters to continue taking steps to lessen the impact on area streets and freeways, saying people should continue to work from home as much as possible.

L.A. transportation officials have urged drivers to transfer to other freeways -- like the 60, 5 and 101 -- instead of getting off the freeway to get around the closure using surface streets.

"If you work in a job where you can telecommute, please continue to telecommute," said Bass on Tuesday. "Stay on the freeways, follow your apps that will redirect you around ... [There are] 300,000 commuters everyday through this area. Our streets cannot take that amount, which is why we need you to stay on the freeway."

She said if residents follow the advice to telecommute and use public transit, "there's no reason for this to be the disaster it could be.''

Tuesday marked the second workday commuters were forced to deal with the freeway closure.

Prepare for rain

Bass also mentioned that the rain in the forecast for Wednesday would likely make any traffic problems even worse.

Most of the rain will be very light with just a few pockets of moderate rainfall for some areas. More of these moderate rain cells will pop up later Wednesday morning for parts of SoCal, but they won't be widespread.

To encourage residents to get out of their cars, LADOT officials said Tuesday they're temporarily eliminating fares on DASH and Commuter Express bus lines.

Bass addresses road rage and homeless concerns

During Tuesday evening's news conference, Bass said she was made aware of several road rage incidents, to which she responded by encouraging Angelenos to "turn toward each other and not against each other."

She also addressed people's concerns about homeless encampments in the area.

"I've heard a lot of anger at the homeless community and homeless encampments. There is no evidence at this point that this fire, even though we know that it was arson, there is no evidence that this was the result of unhoused Angelenos," she said.

What are the detours around the 10 Freeway?

City officials continue to urge Angelenos to use public transportation if at all possible.

Officials said congestion was worse in the afternoon than in the morning on Monday, and they're looking into the trend to see if there's any action they can take to address that situation.

Doug Young, an assistant chief with the CHP, provided the following freeway detours:

  • Drivers on eastbound 10 Freeway will be diverted at Alameda Street;
  • Drivers on the westbound 60 will be diverted to northbound 5 or northbound 101;
  • Drivers on southbound 5 will be diverted onto the westbound 10 but must take the first exit at Mateo Street;
  • Drivers on northbound 5 must divert to the northbound 101.

Metro released a comprehensive list of public-transit alternatives, and residents were advised to visit emergency.lacity.gov for updates.

Anyone planning to attend major sporting events in or around downtown L.A. may want to seek an alternate route or plan for major delays, according to Caltrans.

Metrolink said it will expand service beginning Monday on its San Bernardino Line to support travelers impacted by the freeway closure. The agency will increase capacity and run added service on the line to and from the Inland Empire and downtown L.A. Six extra trains will run in each direction: three in the morning and three in the afternoon and evening.

Arson is the preliminary cause of the 10 Freeway fire in downtown Los Angeles, Gov. Gavin Newsom said. It's unclear when the freeway will reopen.

City Council OKs motion to address fire aftermath

The City Council Tuesday approved a motion seeking to address the challenges to public safety and economic impacts to local business caused by the fire.

Council members unanimously approved the item after Councilman Kevin de Leon introduced it during Tuesday's council meeting pursuant to Rule 23, which allows council members to introduce and pass a motion on the same day.

"The motion introduced today underscores my commitment to address the diverse challenges posed by the devastating freeway fire,'' said de Leon, who represents the 14th District, which encompasses several downtown L.A. neighborhoods.

The motion instructs the Bureau of Street Services to evaluate the existing pavement condition on all streets impacted by detoured freeway traffic to establish a baseline condition, as well as to monitor the streets throughout the closure to seek future reimbursement for repairs from the state or federal government.

What caused the 10 Freeway fire?

The fire that broke out over the weekend was set intentionally and likely arson, Newsom said Monday.

There was no immediate information on a possible arson suspect or suspects, but Newsom said the fire was set within the fenceline of the storage business operating below the freeway, which was littered with vehicles, pallets and other materials.

"That determination of who is responsible is an investigation that is ongoing, and that's an investigation that can be aided by the people of the region, not just those that have been witnesses nearby," said Newsom.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is urged to call the CAL FIRE Arson Hotline at 800-468-4408.

The governor also said that the structural assessment of the freeway is ongoing and that "the structural integrity of the deck appears to be much stronger than originally assessed."

The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.