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CARMAGEDDON: 10 Freeway closed, detours announced

“Unfortunately, there’s no reason to think that this is going to be over in a couple of days,” Mayor Karen Bass said.

As a stretch of the 10 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles remained closed in the aftermath of a fire that erupted under the interstate, officials announced detours and transit alternatives while commuters braced for a Monday morning traffic nightmare in the area.

Hazardous materials teams were clearing burned material from underneath the freeway to make way for engineers who will ensure the columns and deck of the structure can support the 300,000 vehicles that typically travel that route daily, Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a news conference Sunday.

“Remember, this is an investigation as to the cause of how this occurred, as well as a hazmat and structural engineering question,” Newsom said. “Can you open a few lanes? Can you retrofit the columns? Is the bridge deck intact to allow for a few lanes to remain open again?”

Newsom said answering those questions would be a “24-7 operation,” but officials couldn’t yet offer a timeline for when the highway might reopen.

Detours and delays around the 10 Freeway

L.A. transportation officials urged drivers to transfer to other freeways — like the 60, 5 and 101 — instead of getting off the freeway to get around the closure using surface streets.

Doug Young, an assistant chief with the CHP, provided the following freeway detours:

— drivers on eastbound 10 Freeway will be diverted at Alameda Street;

— drivers on the westbound 60 will be diverted to northbound 5 or northbound 101;

— drivers on southbound 5 will be diverted onto the westbound 10 but must take the first exit at Mateo Street;

— drivers on northbound 5 must divert to the northbound 101.

Metro released a comprehensive list of public-transit alternatives, and residents were advised to visit emergency.lacity.gov for updates.

Anyone planning to attend major sporting events in or around downtown L.A. may want to seek an alternate route or plan for major delays, according to Caltrans.

Metrolink said it will expand service beginning Monday on its San Bernardino Line to support travelers impacted by the freeway closure. The agency will increase capacity and run added service on the line to and from the Inland Empire and downtown L.A. Six extra trains will run in each direction: three in the morning and three in the afternoon and evening.

When will the 10 Freeway reopen?

More than 24 hours after it started, Caltrans officials said they were still assessing the damage, and could not say when the freeway would reopen. Meanwhile, there were concerns the ongoing closure could wreak even more havoc on Monday morning’s commute.

“We’re seeing a lot of… concrete that’s flaked off the columns. The underside of the bridge deck may be compromised,” said Caltrans spokesperson Lauren Wonder. “It’s sort of a waiting situation right now. We don’t have an estimated time of opening but Caltrans wants to ensure that this bridge is safe to put traffic back on it.”

Wonder said if the damage is mostly cosmetic, traffic could potentially resume on the bridge.

“If it’s rebar, then we cannot put traffic load on there, and it may take a week… a month. It may take less time,” she said.