Fire-damaged freeways and L.A. River returning to normal

Blackened trees in the Elysian Valley section of the L.A. River./John Gaskill

Damaged freeway tunnel will remain shut down./Caltrans

Traffic was flowing on the 5 Freeway this morning and kayakers got the okay to start floating down the Los Angeles River again a few days after a tanker-truck fire and fuel spill shut down freeway lanes and a river recreation area.

A damaged and blackened tunnel connecting the northbound 2 Freeway to the northbound 5 Freeway will remain closed indefinitely but the rest of the lanes at the 5 and 2 freeway interchange were open this morning after being shut down since Saturday, when a tanker truck carrying 8,500 gallons of fuel caught fire in the tunnel, damaging the structure and sending burning fuel through Elysian Valley storm drains and into the river bed.


Meanwhile, a few blocks away from the damaged interchange, bike riders rode past the blackened trees and brush that caught fire when burning fuel from the tanker spewed into the river bed at Allesandro Street . That prompted the closure of the   L.A. River Recreation Pilot Zone, where people can kayak, hike and bird watch in the riverbed, to assess the damage and undertake a clean up. However, officials determined that very little fuel entered the water and the damage was minimal.

The river recreation area as well as the L.A. River bike path will  be open to the public today, according to the Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority, which  oversees the area.

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