5 Freeway near Griffith Park fully reopens after tipped tanker caused 10-hour traffic nightmare


An overturned big rig hauling thousands of gallons of fuel forced the closure of a portion of the northbound 5 Freeway near Griffith Park amid rush-hour traffic early Wednesday. CHP initially reported that the freeway would reopen two hours after the closure, but the major Southland artery only began to reopen more than 10 hours later.

About 5:30 p.m., the CHP opened three lanes to traffic. By 10 p.m., all lanes were open.

The truck tipped shortly after 7 a.m., when traffic slowed and the driver was forced to stop suddenly. The driver turned the wheel to avoid crashing into a car ahead and lost control of the tanker, which was carrying about 7,500 gallons of gasoline, near Los Feliz Boulevard, said California Highway Patrol Officer Roberto Gomez.

The driver was able to exit the tanker truck and was not injured, but gasoline began leaking onto the freeway, Gomez said.


About 100 gallons of fuel spilled into two storm drains nearby. Crews are working to siphon the remaining gas out of the truck and clean up the spill on the roadway, according to the California Transportation Authority. The fuel tank operation was finished this afternoon.

Officials closed the section of the freeway about 7:30 a.m. and began diverting traffic onto State Route 2.

Video footage from the 5 freeway showed traffic backing up for miles as crews worked to clear the scene and drivers reported major traffic as they were rerouted.