Nov. 13 (UPI) -- One of the busiest stretches of interstate in the country is now closed indefinitely in both directions because of a massive fire in Los Angeles, the city's mayor Karen Bass confirmed Monday.
The shuttered section of I-10 is routinely used by 300,000 daily drivers and its sudden closure has officials raising the alarm over the impending impact.
"Engineers have worked all night and are working right now to determine our path forward. But I have made it clear with our local, state and federal partners that any unnecessary bureaucracy or delays are not happening here," Bass said during a Monday morning news conference.
"Losing this stretch of the 10 freeway will take time and money from people's lives and businesses. It's disrupting in every way."
Today, Governor @GavinNewsom and @MayorOfLA Bass surveyed the damage to the I-10 freeway. The state is working with locals, @CaltransHQ, @CHP_HQ, and @CAL_FIRE to reopen the I-10 freeway quickly and safely. pic.twitter.com/lHpr93aPjO— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) November 13, 2023
Gov. Gavin Newsom pledged state help to get the road open as soon as possible and avoid prolonged traffic chaos.
"The state is mobilizing resources and taking steps to ensure any necessary repairs are completed as soon as possible to minimize the impact on those traveling in and around Los Angeles," Newsom said in a statement.
Bass said she is in contact with the White House, while Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg confirmed Federal Highways Administrator Shailen Bhatt is traveling to Los Angeles.
The Interstate is the fourth-longest in the country, measuring just over 2,460 miles and is also the southernmost transcontinental highway.
A massive fire broke out early Saturday morning and burned through the day Sunday at a small storage yard directly underneath the freeway, triggering a major response by the Los Angeles Fire Department. The cause of the blaze remains unknown, while engineers have yet to evaluate any structural damage to the concrete structure. Flames burned so hot, they eventually melted steel guardrails.
The indefinite shutdown of the I-10 runs from Alameda Street to Santa Fe Avenue and is also impacting connections to I-5 and the 101 and 60 freeways.
"Whether you are talking about traveling to and from work, or your child care plans and the flow of goods and commerce, this will disrupt the lives of Angelenos. So I will not settle for anything other than a rebuilding plan and a timeline that becomes a new model for speed," Bass said Monday.