Lanes of the east and westbound 10 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles reopened Sunday night after a massive fire last weekend closed the roadway from Alameda Street to Santa Fe Avenue, prompting officials at the time to say the closure was indefinite.
Officials with the California Highway Patrol confirmed to KTLA that the mainline of the 10 Freeway in the busy downtown corridor, used by an estimated 300,000 drivers a day, had been reopened hours ahead of the scheduled Monday morning opening.
“Welcome Back, Los Angeles!” L.A. Mayor Karen Bass posted on X, formerly Twitter, Sunday night, adding the city was working to open on and off ramps of the freeway throughout the evening.
According to a Caltrans news release, five lanes in each direction were made available Sunday evening to reduce the disruption to L.A. drivers during the Monday morning commute. The westbound Alameda Street offramp, however, will remain temporarily closed while work to repair the fire-damaged roadway continues.
At a Sunday morning press conference Governor Gavin Newsom was joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla and Mayor Bass to provide an update on the repair efforts.
“This thing opens tonight,” he said. “It will be fully operational tomorrow [and] ready for the commute.”
Structural integrity assessment results indicated that the damage to the freeway was not as bad as originally thought, allowing officials to announce that the restoration process could be completed within three to five weeks.
Mayor Bass confirmed on social media that the 10 “is going to be safe to drive on” on Monday due to “urgent action and collaboration at all levels of government.”
The blaze initially broke out around 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 11 in a storage yard near East 14th and Alameda streets in downtown Los Angeles.
Flames eventually engulfed both sides of 14th Street underneath the 10, and the heat was so intense that it melted some of the freeway’s steel guardrails, Los Angeles Fire Department officials said.
Initially, officials were concerned that the freeway had sustained structural damage that would require potentially months of repair work. But as engineers looked more closely, it became clear that the worst-case scenario -a demolition and rebuild- would not be necessary.
The site is owned by Caltrans as part of their Airspace and Telecommunications Licensing program, which is “responsible for leasing and managing those properties or sites held for a transportation purpose that can safely accommodate a secondary use,” according to their website.
Newsom confirmed that the fire was set with “malice intent” last Monday, saying that the fire burned within the property’s fence line and appeared to be an act of arson.
The freeway closure has affected thousands of Angelenos, who have been advised to take public transit; several train and bus routes have been discounted and sped up or had lines added to them in wake of the closure.
Anyone with information is urged to call the CalFire Arson Hotline at 1-800-468-4408. Information can also be submitted to the Arson and Bomb Unit by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org