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Tanker fire: Westbound 60 freeway now open, official says

December 17, 2011 | 11:36 am

The westbound lanes of the 60 Freeway through Montebello have reopened after being shut down for three days, a transit official said.

The lanes to the freeway opened shortly before 11:15 a.m., said Patrick Chandler, a Cal Trans spokesman.

Meanwhile, the crews are working to reopen the eastbound lanes. The bridge over those lanes has been demolished. Workers are now testing recently poured concrete to make sure it hardens sufficiently to withstand traffic, Chandler said, at which point the lanes will be striped.

PHOTOS: Fiery crash on the 60 Freeway

It’s expected now that the reopening of the eastbound freeway will take place later Saturday afternoon, Chandler said.

Meanwhile, engineers have decided to demolish the bridge over the westbound lanes, but that work can be done late at night with both sides of the freeway fully open during the day, Chandler said.  

The demolition work will require the closure of the westbound lanes of the freeway in that area for Sunday through Tuesday between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., Chandler said. One lane of the eastbound side will be open during those hours, he said.

The freeway has been closed since Wednesday, when a tanker carrying 8,800 gallons of gasoline caught fire then was stopped under the Paramount Boulevard overpass. The ferocious flames took hours to extinguish.

No one was hurt in the fire, but the closure of the freeway has clogged highways and surface streets for miles around and made for nightmarish commutes.


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-- Sam Quinones


Photo: A lone California Highway Patrol cruiser sits on an empty 60 Freeway that is normally packed with commuters. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times