Los Angeles freeway closed after arson fire set to fully reopen before Monday morning’s rush hour

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at the Presidio Tunnel Tops before the signing of a new climate agreement in San Francisco on Oct. 6, 2022. California, a state known for its ambitious climate policies, could soon adopt new laws reducing emissions from buildings, easing the burden on taxpayers to clean up abandoned oil and gas wells, and requiring the most sweeping emissions reporting mandates for large companies in the nation. They are among the hundreds of bills lawmakers sent to Newsom's desk this year. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

LOS ANGELES — An elevated Los Angeles freeway closed for more than a week because of an arson fire is expected to reopen ahead of Monday morning’s commute, a day earlier than previously announced and weeks ahead of the original estimate, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Sunday.

The Nov. 11 blaze, fed by flammable materials stored under the roadway, shut a mile-long stretch of Interstate 10 near downtown, snarling traffic as repair crews worked around the clock. Officials had said last week that all lanes were expected to reopen by Tuesday, but moved it up to Monday after significant progress.


Newsom said recent safety inspections showed the span was safe to start reopening Sunday evening and that the freeway would be “fully operational” before Monday’s rush hour.

“It wasn’t just speed that we were after. We wanted to make sure this thing was safe,” Newsom said at a news conference, joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass.

Officials had initially said it could take about 250 workers between three and five weeks to shore up the span after the blaze burned about 100 support columns.

There will be periodic closures in the coming weeks or months as repairs continue, officials said. An estimated 300,000 vehicles a day use the freeway, which runs east-west across the heart of the metropolis and connects with other major highways.

Padilla estimated the initial repairs, which are expected to be covered by federal funds, would cost $3 million.

State investigators repeatedly identified fire and safety hazards at a leased storage space under an elevated Los Angeles freeway before it burned in the fire, documents show.

The California Department of Transportation, or Caltrans, released the documents Friday.

Investigators said Saturday they’re seeking help locating a “person of interest” and released two photos in a “crime alert notification” on social media showing a man in his 30s with a brace on his right knee and apparent burn injuries on his left leg.

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