Additionally Directs Departments to Launch a Comprehensive Review of Leased Sites Under Freeways
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Los Angeles 10 Freeway will re-open next Tuesday, November 21, and the Governor is directing Caltrans and CAL FIRE to launch a comprehensive review of leased sites under freeways across California.
LOS ANGELES — Leveraging an all-of-government approach with emergency crews working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, today Governor Gavin Newsom announced the Los Angeles 10 Freeway is expected to reopen to traffic on Tuesday, November 21. While repairs are expected to remain ongoing for months, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has determined all five lanes of traffic in both directions can safely reopen to passenger and commercial truck vehicles by next week.
WHAT GOVERNOR NEWSOM SAID: “By working together with our federal and local partners and making this a 24/7 operation, the state is on track to open the 10 before millions of Angelenos hit the road for Thanksgiving. I’m grateful for the crews working around the clock to safely repair the 10 so we can get Los Angeles’ traffic moving in days instead of weeks.”
“This is what happens when we work with urgency. This is what happens when we come together. I want to make sure that there are no barriers to completely finishing the repair and that when the freeway opens up it will be completely safe,” said Mayor Karen Bass. “City departments will continue to respond with urgency to the impacts of the traffic closure during the ongoing construction. We will not let up. I want to thank Governor Newsom for joining forces with me to make sure the repair is being expedited to get the freeway back up and running as fast as possible.”
The announcement comes far ahead of schedule and was made possible because of the around-the-clock efforts of crews and engineers on and off-site, better-than-expected structural testing results, expedited debris removal, and close coordination between state, local, and federal government officials to safely expedite repairs of a major freeway that is a critical backbone to the American and global economy.
As repairs continue over the coming months, the public should expect some temporary closures on occasional weekends and overnight, along with intermittent lane closures.
Today, the Governor also highlighted he has instructed Caltrans and CAL FIRE to conduct a thorough examination and assessment of all Airspace and Telecommunications Licensing Program (Airspace) sites throughout the state. Airspace sites are state-owned properties located within freeway rights-of-way that can be safely leased for secondary uses. The Governor’s directive instructs Caltrans and CAL FIRE to conduct a comprehensive review of the Airspace program, and produce an inventory of all Airspace sites that identifies property types, locations, potential concerns, proximity to sensitive structures, tenancy status, site use types, and inspection status, among other details. Additionally, Caltrans and CAL FIRE have been instructed to prioritize inspections of high-risk Airspace sites across California and recommend necessary programmatic, inspection, enforcement, and/or statutory changes to prevent future incidents similar to the I-10 Freeway fire.
The state is taking an urgent all-of-government approach to fix the 10 Freeway, a major artery in Los Angeles, with traffic estimated at upwards of 300,000 vehicles daily. Californians can visit FixThe10.ca.gov for updates and alternate routes. www.FixThe10.ca.gov →
The 10 Freeway fire began on an Airspace site rented by Apex Development, Inc (Apex). Two months prior to the fire, Caltrans sued Apex, seeking to remove the company from the leased property for failing to pay its rent and subletting the property without authorization. A hearing is set for early 2024 in that lawsuit. Apex was responsible for maintaining the fenced-off site while they continued to assert rights under the lease. CAL FIRE’s investigation into the fire — suspected to be arson — remains ongoing and members of the public are encouraged to provide any leads or tips, which can be sent anonymously to the CAL FIRE Arson Hotline at 1-800-468-4408 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 10 Freeway is a major artery that serves hundreds of thousands of Angelenos daily. After testing samples and assessing damage from the site, state transportation officials determined the damage could be repaired without demolishing and rebuilding the 450-foot span of the freeway, which could have taken upwards of 6 months. Union crews continue to work around the clock to shore up the support pillars damaged in the fire. While I-10 is closed to all vehicles, Caltrans workers are seizing this traffic-free opportunity to carry out a wide-ranging “swarm” maintenance operation – sweeping, repairing bridge railings and broken concrete, painting over graffiti, cleaning drains and culverts, removing litter, weeds, and overgrown vegetation, and sealing broken access doors.
Last weekend, Governor Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in Los Angeles County to support the state’s response. The proclamation facilitates clean-up and repair work and directs Caltrans to formally request assistance through the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program, which the state secured.