A Los Angeles highway previously closed due to an arson fire is scheduled to reopen Tuesday, just in time for the holiday rush.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said in a Thursday news conference that Interstate 10 is reopening earlier than anticipated. The one-mile stretch of the highway is near downtown Los Angeles and closed late Saturday after a fire burned nearly 100 support columns.
The fire was intentionally and maliciously set, State Fire Marshall Daniel Berlant said Monday. It was fueled by pallets, vehicles, construction materials and other items stored under the highway. No arrests have been made so far in the investigation, Newsom said.
No injuries were reported in the fire, but 16 unhoused people were displaced, officials said Sunday.
“The bridge structure itself seems to be in better shape than we anticipated,” Newsom said. “One thing we can guarantee you is we will be open, five lanes in both directions, at the latest Tuesday of next week.”
Newsom previously projected the stretch to be closed for three to five weeks for repairs. He said more than 250 people worked around the clock to make repairs.
“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,” Newsom said.
About 300,000 vehicles use the highway daily, the Associated Press reported. Traffic was detoured to Interstate 110 and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass asked commuters to use public transportation on Monday.
Repairs will continue on Interstate 10
Structural test results, expedited debris removal and Newsom’s state of emergency declaration helped bump the highway’s reopening ahead of schedule, the governor’s office said in a Thursday new release.
But repairs aren’t totally done on the busy highway that connects Santa Monica to Monterey Park.
Newsom’s office said temporary closures will occur typically on weekends and overnight to address necessary repairs.
He also requested the California Department of Transportation and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection review all airspace and telecommunications licensing program sites as a result of the arson. The items stored in the underpass were leased out, which Caltrans said isn’t unusual in an FAQ post on the “Fix the 10” webpage.
“But in this case, the leaseholder was subleasing this space in violation of the lease terms and the state had already initiated legal action against the lessor back in September 2023,” the department wrote.
The Department of Transportation didn’t immediately respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment Friday.
Contributing: Kayla Jimenez, Vanessa Arrendondo, USA TODAY; Associated Press