California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Thursday that the repairs to the elevated Los Angeles freeway, which was closed due to an arson fire, are progressing faster than anticipated. All lanes are now set to reopen by the upcoming Tuesday.
Earlier in the week, authorities had projected a timeframe of three to five weeks for the restoration of the mile-long segment of Interstate 10 near downtown. The fire, occurring last Saturday, had damaged approximately 100 support columns.
The blaze, fueled by pallets, cars, construction materials, hand sanitizer, and stored items beneath the freeway in an industrial neighborhood, swiftly spread over 8 acres (3 hectares). Although no injuries were reported, 16 homeless individuals from an encampment in the vicinity were relocated to shelters.
The ongoing arson investigation has not resulted in any arrests. Governor Newsom emphasized that investigators are exploring the possibility of multiple individuals being involved.
Approximately 300,000 vehicles navigate this crucial stretch of freeway daily, connecting the heart of the metropolis with other major highways. Authorities have been urging the public to avoid the area, suggesting the use of buses and trains or working from home.
Governor Newsom, speaking at an evening news conference, provided reassurance about the condition of the bridge structure, stating, “The bridge structure itself seems to be in better shape than we anticipated.” He affirmed that all five lanes in both directions would be open no later than the following Tuesday. Over 250 workers are diligently laboring around the clock to expedite the repairs.
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Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass expressed optimism, declaring, “This is a good day in Los Angeles.”