L.A. Now

Caltrans: 5 and 710 freeway closures could last until midnight

A red Dodge Magnum plowed into temporary supports for a widened overpass

A major freeway interchange near downtown Los Angeles may remain closed until midnight after a motorist on the northbound 5 Freeway plowed into an overpass construction site early Saturday, killing the driver and injuring the passenger. 

The crash occurred about 2 a.m. at the 710 Freeway interchange in the City of Commerce, authorities said. The Dodge Magnum slammed into temporary supports for a widened overpass.

A Caltrans spokesman said a portion of the northbound 5 Freeway was expected to remain closed north of Atlantic Boulevard until construction workers and structural engineers are confident that overpass supports are stabilized.

Caltrans spokesman Patrick Chandler said the driver went between K-rails at the freeway split. Several steel I-beams and heavy wooden beams, some weighing as much as two tons, rained onto the freeway, smashing the red vehicle, he said.

"Our biggest issue is we want to make sure the [supports] won’t shift and fall onto moving traffic, so we're working to secure the beams still in place," Chandler said. "This is a lot of material that weighs a whole lot."

The California Highway Patrol closed the transition road from the southbound 710 to the southbound 5 freeways. The No. 1 lane on the northbound 710 remains open.

Southbound traffic on the 5 Freeway and the major ramp from the northbound 710 to the northbound 5 were not affected.

"Traffic can take the northbound I-5 transition or stay on the 710," said CHP Officer Francisco Villalobos.

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