WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced the immediate availability of $3 million in “quick release” Emergency Relief (ER) funds for use by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to offset costs of emergency repair work on a section of Interstate 10 near downtown Los Angeles damaged by a fire that took place under the interstate and resulted in a closure in both directions.
Meanwhile, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Nov. 16 that the bridge is expected to be reopened on Nov. 21.
Officials initially said it could take crews between three and five weeks to shore up the bridge, whose 100 or so support columns were damaged during the blaze.
However, “The bridge structure itself seems to be in better shape than we anticipated,” Newsom said during an evening news conference. “One thing we can guarantee you is we will be open, five lanes in both directions, at the latest Tuesday of next week.”
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said after announcing federal funding for repairs to the bridge that this segment of I-10 “is a vital corridor in our Interstate Highway System.”
“It’s important to hundreds of thousands of commuters as well as to America’s supply chains that it be quickly repaired,” he added. “These federal emergency funds will help California launch this urgent repair work, and the Biden-Harris administration stands ready to provide further resources as necessary to address this issue quickly and safely.”
Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt joined state and local officials at the site earlier this week and reiterated the U.S. Department of Transportation’s commitment to provide federal assistance and support to help Caltrans make repairs expeditiously.
“We know the I-10 corridor is a critical connection for both people and goods traveling in and around Los Angeles,” Bhatt said. “The quick release funding we’re providing Caltrans is the first of many steps we are taking to help California get this key route open as soon as possible for the workers, residents and businesses that rely on this route every day.”
FHWA staff are on the ground offering support to local and state officials and are providing technical assistance to help respond to the closure of the portion of the freeway, according to a news release.
Beginning on Nov. 11, a massive fire near downtown Los Angeles caused extensive damages to a portion of the I-10 freeway structure in Los Angeles County, resulting in closure of the damaged section of the freeway.
Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency the same day. Caltrans continues to conduct emergency operations, performing emergency repairs and continually assessing impacts, including structural damages and traffic operations.
The quick release Emergency Relief funding, in response to a request by Caltrans for $3 million, will primarily be used to assist with critical activities required to repair the structure and safely reopen this section of I-10 as quickly as possible, including ongoing traffic control, removal of hazardous waste and temporary shoring of the structure at the damage site.
The I-10 corridor is a vital connection for people and goods traveling in and around Los Angeles and is a major artery that serves approximately 300,000 vehicles daily.
More information about FHWA’s Emergency Relief program can be found online at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/programadmin/erelief.cfm
Born and raised in Little Rock, AR, Erica N. Guy decided to stay in her hometown to begin her professional career in journalism. Since obtaining her bachelor’s degree from UAPB, Erica has professionally written for several publications about several topics ranging from lifestyle, tech, culture, and entertainment, just to name a few. Continuing her love for her hometown, she joined our team in June 2023, where she is currently a staff writer. Her career goals include continuing storytelling through her writing by being the best professional writer she can be. In her spare time, Erica enjoys trying new foods, cozying up with a good book, spending time with family and friends, and establishing herself as a future businesswoman.