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Fire-damaged freeway to remain closed for Monday’s rush hour

A Caltrans official said that the fire-damaged section of the Interstate 5-Route 2 interchange north of downtown will remain closed through the Monday morning rush hour, as crews work to repair the tunnel where a tanker truck overturned and caught fire.

All northbound lanes of the 5 Freeway at the junction of the 2 Freeway will remain closed possibly until Tuesday, said Patrick Chandler, a Caltrans spokesman. Two southbound lanes at the interchange also will remain closed.

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A contractor is currently working to shore up the 290-foot-long tunnel, Chandler said, and repairs will be quite extensive.

PHOTOS: Truck fire shuts down 5 Freeway

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“Until that’s finished, the closures will stay in effect,” he said.

Caltrans is advising commuters to avoid the area and take public transit if that’s an option.

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Meanwhile, workers from Clean Harbors Environmental Services worked throughout the night cleaning up spilled gasoline.

On Saturday, a tanker truck carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline overturned on the freeway, caught fire and caused a massive traffic jam. Officials are still not certain what caused the truck to overturn.

The closed freeway lanes forced tens of thousands of people going to the Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium to avoid portions of the 5 and the 2. It also jammed nearby surface streets such as Fletcher Drive, San Fernando Road, Glendale Boulevard and Riverside Drive.

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Thousands of gallons of gasoline from the truck poured “a burning river of fuel” through storm drains in the Elysian Valley area, said Brian Humphrey, a spokesman with the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Billy Wright, who was nearby at the time, rushed over on his bike.

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“I was expecting a big fire, but I wasn’t expecting the river to be on fire,” he said.

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thomas.curwen@latimes.com


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