To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Freeway fire could bring a new round of Carmageddon

Fire after tanker spill in a tunnel causes indefinite closure of all northbound lanes and two southbound lanes of the 5 Freeway.


 By Thomas Curwen, July 14, 2013

Freeway repairs continue

 Road repair continues where a tanker truck toppled in a tunnel at the interchange of the 5 and 2 freeways, causing a traffic-disrupting inferno, and severe damage, near Stadium Way in Los Angeles.

Ignite 8,500 gallons of gasoline in a two-lane freeway underpass just north of downtown, and you have a prescription for another round of Carmageddon come Monday morning.

Saturday's spectacular inferno off the 2 Freeway has forced the indefinite closure of all northbound lanes and two southbound lanes of the 5 Freeway. Although Caltrans isn't ready to say when traffic will be flowing normally through the area again, the agency is hoping for Tuesday.

That leaves more than 150,000 drivers who use the highway each day needing an alternative route. "We're advising drivers to avoid the area and to take public transportation," Caltrans spokesman Patrick Chandler said.

The closure, just north of Dodger Stadium, occurs at one of the worse choke points in Los Angeles' freeway system.

With the 5 being hemmed in by the L.A. River to the east and the hills of Elysian Park and Silver Lake to the west, alternative routes are not easy to find. With the exception of Riverside Drive, most roads in the area either snake through residential neighborhoods or end in industrial cul-de-sacs.

Aram Sahakian, a city transportation engineer, said Department of Transportation workers were busy Sunday resetting signal timing on surface streets to ease traffic flow. In the morning, traffic officers will be at intersections to help move things along, he said.

"We're keeping our fingers crossed that by some miracle, it will reopen by Tuesday morning as the CHP is saying,'' Sahakian said.

The fire erupted when a tanker truck overturned in a small tunnel connecting the northbound lanes of the 2 Freeway with the northbound lanes of the 5. Thick black smoke was seen for miles.
The intensity of the tunnel fire has so compromised the roadbed of the 5 that freeway traffic at this point would lead to greater damage, Caltrans said.

Since Saturday, crews have been cleaning up the spilled gasoline that flowed into storm drains and the Los Angeles River, clearing the debris in the tunnel and shoring up the freeway's roadbed.
Erik Scott, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department, walked through the charred tunnel Saturday and said softball-size chunks of concrete had fallen.

Chandler reported that rebar was exposed. "It was so hot that the concrete is now brittle," he said. "It is like a popcorn ceiling. Crews are chipping away at it with hammers."

The narrow confines of the tunnel, about 300 feet long and only two lanes and a shoulder wide, magnified the intensity of the blaze.

Caltrans has had experience with freeway fires. In April 2012 a tanker blaze closed the westbound lanes of the 134 Freeway in Glendale. Four months earlier, a tanker truck exploded on the 60 Freeway in Montebello, requiring the demolition and reconstruction of the Paramount Boulevard overpass.

In 2007 a truck crash and fire in a tunnel under the 5 Freeway south of Santa Clarita forced a partial closure for three days. The freeway was temporarily shored up to prevent collapse.

The repairs for the 2 Freeway tunnel will be more extensive than the tunnel in Santa Clarita, according to John Yang, acting deputy district director for maintenance for Caltrans. But it's too early to say what's involved.

"Right now we're working to get the freeway open," he said. "Once we get the temporary shoring up, then we can begin to see what is required to repair the damage."

Yang described how Caltrans engineers will have to bore into the concrete, a process similar to a biopsy, to see how deeply damaged the tunnel is.

"It will be a very long process," Chandler said.

The crash occurred about 10:30 Saturday morning when the tanker truck hit the side of the tunnel and overturned. No one was injured.

The accident created a mini-Carmageddon for tens of thousands of Dodgers fans eager to get to the stadium for a day game. Fortunately, the stadium is now dark until July 25.

Greg Hammond, a captain with the California Highway Patrol's Central L.A. Command, was not ready to say what caused the accident. "We're calling it a solo collision," he said.

The CHP is combing through the hundreds of 911 calls received Saturday morning at the call center that handles freeway emergencies, Hammond said, in hopes that those specific to this accident will provide a clue to the cause.

A Time to Awaken


Summer 2013 issue of West Pasadena Residents' Assocation

From Chris Holden--Local Update


 Summer 2013 issue of West Pasadena Residents' Assocation

How will a 710 tunnel impact Pasadena?


 Summer 2013 issue of West Pasadena Residents' Assocation

Portions of 2 and 5 freeways remain closed after fuel-tanker fire


By Carlos Lozano, July 14, 2013

 Firefighters inspect freeway tunnel after tanker truck overturned and caught fire. (Luis Sinco/LA Times.)

 Firefighters inspect a freeway tunnel after a tanker truck overturned and caught fire.

All northbound lanes of the 5 Freeway at the junction of the 2 Freeway, north of downtown Los Angeles, remained closed Sunday, a day after a tanker truck carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline overturned, caught fire and caused a massive traffic jam.

The two right lanes of the southbound 2 Freeway at the junction also remained closed, said Officer Ed Jacobs of the California Highway Patrol. It is unclear when any of the shuttered lanes will reopen, he said.

“We’re shooting for” Monday, he said. “We just want to make it safe.”

He said workers were shoring up the freeway tunnel where the accident occurred at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday to ensure that it is structurally sound.

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. Firefighters were deployed on a mile-long stretch of the river to monitor the spill. It was unclear what kind of environmental risk the spill might pose.

Traffic on Saturday was jammed for miles into Chavez Ravine, where the Dodgers drew tens of thousands of fans for a 4:15 p.m. game.

No one was injured in the accident.

Tanker fire burns near 5 Freeway overpass





  A tanker truck carrying 7,500 gallons of fuel caught fire in a tunnel underneath the 5 Freeway and 2 Freeway interchange in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 13, 2013.


Tanker truck flips, spills gas; turns 5 Freeway underpass into inferno


By Dakota Smith, July 13, 2013


 Atwater Village July 13,2013. LA city firefighters on the scene after a tanker truck flipped and caught fire in a tunnel beneath a major freeway interchange north of downtown Los Angeles. Fuel from the tanker truck spilled into the Los Angeles River and caused hazardous smoke scare.

Gallery: Tanker truck fire on 5 Freeway
A tanker truck flipped, spilled thousands of gallons of gasoline, caught fire. turned a freeway underpass into an inferno and backed up traffic for miles near the 2 and 5 freeways near Dodger Stadium on Saturday, California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles Fire Department officials said.
A CHP spokesman said that some freeway lane closures are anticipated to be "long term." She said the agency couldn't be specific on a timeline for reopening.

Closures include the southbound 2 to the southbound 5 and northbound 2 to the northbound 5 connector roads and two lanes of southbound 5 from Fletcher to Stadium Way for an unknown duration.

At least 8,500 gallons of gasoline burned or spilled on the freeway, into the L.A. River or storm drains, LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey said.

The crash occurred on the southbound transition road from the 2 to 5 freeway in a tunnel-like underpass shortly after 10:30 a.m. Despite early reports of injuries, no one was hurt in the incident, Humphrey said.

Motorists and local media tweeted photos of a huge black plume of smoke and orange flames. Television station KABC (Channel 7) showed a photo of a section of the river engulfed in flames.
Humphrey said state and federal officials had been notified to assess damage to the river and area.
"We don't have a quantity of what went into the river, but it was sizeable," Humphrey said.

Portions of the L.A. River in this area just re-opened to the public for kayaking, fishing, and other activities. Additionally, nonprofit river groups held a large cleanup effort for the river two months ago.

"It's just awful to hear," said Rick Rabins, president of the The Village Gardeners, a nonprofit group dedicated to beautifying the L.A. River, when told of the accident. "Toxic contamination is a pretty terrifying thing."

Humphrey said that it was unclear what caused the accident. He said CHP officials told firefighters the truck diver hit a guardrail.

Officials with the California Fish and Wildlife Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were on site Saturday and taking river samples, said LAFD Captain Alicia Mathis.
"They are assessing what damage was done to the river," Mathis said.

Originally, EPA officials believed the fuel was spread over a two and half mile section of the river, but by late afternoon, lowered the size of the estimated damage, Mathis said.

The accident occurred close to Frogtown, a working class neighborhood nestled between the river and freeways. On Saturday afternoon, the river smelled strongly of gasoline, even a half mile away south of the accident site.

Officials are also concentrating on washing and then rinsing the storm drains, Mathis said.


 Gretchen Knudsen posted on Facebook, July 14, 2013:


 The I5/ 2 Freeway tunnel after ysterday's fire.



 Tina G. Miller posted on Facebook, July 14, 2013:

 The news said the fuel fire spread into the LA River and warned residents to stay away from manhole covers. So it must have been traveling along the drainage systems. Is there any infrastructure in place in Los Angeles for protection of hazardous fluids from flowing into our drainage/sewer systems? There are rainwater capture systems being installed at specific locations and these systems clean and filter the water before it is sent to the drainage system and dumped into the ocean. Perhaps along the freeways and highways in the metropolitan area the city should provide water captures that filter the drainage 24/7 so that when a spill happens there is some sort of infrastructure in place to combat the hazardous spills that happen on our freeways/tunnels. If Metro is going to push transportation improvements forward than they have to look at these types of accidents that spill chemicals and other agents into our communities and public sewers and water tables. And shouldn't we be looking into not just RESPONDING and CLEANING UP accidents like this but providing a better infrastructure solution to the spillage of hazardous wastes on all our freeways?

 Paula Shatsky replied: 

  Yes Tina. They actually said this was happening last night on the 4 news.(NBC) they said it was in so,e soil residue near the river. They were worried about homeless people who encamp there.

 Peggy Drouet: My thoughts. This isn't the only tanker truck that has overturned recently on one of Southern California freeways, resulting in a horrendous fire. This one was in a tunnel. Any other vehicles closely following the tanker would have burned up with their occupants inside. This, thankfully, wasn't the case this time. Which brings up the 710 tunnel. Metro has stated that tanker trucks will not be allowed in this tunnel but who or what is going to stop them? The wise procedure would be to carefully check all trucks to determine if they are carrying potentially explosive material and then to deny them entrance into the tunnel. This would have to be done before the exit on Valley going north and before the southern portal in Pasadena, quite a bit harder to do at the Pasadena portal because there will be no exit to Del Mar Avenue where cars and trucks can now get off the 710 stub. But any checkpoint would severely slow down traffic to the tunnel, causing a backup on the feeding freeways. This could simply result in making the street route from the 210 to the 10 and vice versa a much quicker route.

  On I Love Alhambra Facebook page:

 Look at the Truck traffic and no way out when there is an Accident like there was on the 60 this week !








No710 Rally and SR-710 Meetings

From Sylvia Plummer:

Mark Your Calendars!

Don't miss the No710 Rally 
Saturday, July 20th - 8:45am**

Blair High School, Pasadena

We are getting together prior to Metro's Information Session at Blair High School in Pasadena.
Bring your signs/fans, wear your No710 button, wear No710 or Red shirts, etc.
Meet us at Blair High School, outside/next to Metro's meeting location. Don't be Late
I will sent out more details later this week.

SR-710  Community Meetings plus More

The format for the three Metro community meetings:

Metro and Caltrans will be hosting information sessions to share an update on the SR 710 North Study. This will include a short presentation given by the SR 710 study team followed by stakeholder discussion and a question and answer period

Be sure to attend at least one of these three meetings.

Thursday, July 18 -- 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Metro's SR-710 All Communities Information Session

Los Angeles Presbyterian Church
2241 N. Eastern Avenue
El Sereno

* Unable to attend? See note at bottom of page.

**Saturday, July 20 -- 8:45am

A Rally for everyone against the 710 Tunnels 

We are getting together prior to Metro's Information Session at Blair High School in Pasadena.
Bring your signs/fans, wear your button, wear No710 or Red shirts, etc.
Meet us at Blair High School, outside/next to Metro's meeting location. Don't be Late

Saturday, July 20 -- 9:30 am - 11:30 am

Metro's SR-710 All Communities Information Session

Blair High School
1201 S. Marengo Avenue

* Unable to attend? See note at bottom of page.


Tuesday, July 23 -- 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Metro's SR-710 All Communities Information Session

Langley Senior Center
400 W. Emerson Avenue
Monterey Park

* Unable to attend? See note at bottom of page.


Thursday, July 25   --   
 9:00 am

Metro Board Meeting  

One Gateway Plaza
Metro Board Room,  3rd Floor 
Los Angeles, CA  90012

What will be on the agenda?

Metro staff has been directed to provide the Metro Board an accounting of Metro's (MTA) role and responsibilities as a Caltrans partner in the Alternative Study and any future analysis for the SR-710 Gap Closure Project.

Meet us outside the Metro Board Room at 8:50 am


Tuesday, August 6  --  7:30 pm

Monrovia City Council Meeting  
City Council Chambers
415 S. Ivy Avenue
Monrovia, CA  91016 

The Monrovia City Council will meet Tuesday, August 6.  On the agenda will be a recommended action to pass a resolution to support the “completion” of the 710.  This was instigated by the City of  Alhambra.  (Alhambra City Officials are out of Control again)

We need people to email, call, attend and speak against the SR710 North project.  We were successful with the city of Azusa, which proves that showing up, sending emails and calling does make a difference.  

I will be sending out contact information in August.


* Unable to attend Metro's All Communities Information Session...

On Saturday, July 20th at 10 a.m. Metro will have a live-stream of the Pasadena presentation.

View and comment via a live-stream of the presentation or on-demand at: