Prepare To Stop: Freeway lanes to remain shut down for weekday commute*

Northbound Glendale Boulevard in Silver Lake jammed with traffic.

Caltrans today said that portions of  the 5 and 2 freeways closed by this weekend’s tanker- truck fire probably won’t reopen until Tuesday, threatening to tie up traffic on the freeways and surrounding surface streets.

The closures, which include the northbound 5 Freeway at the 2 Freeway and the northbound 2 Freeway at Glendale Boulevard,  will allow crews to begin repairing damage caused by the intense heat to the pavement, walls, support columns, drainage, and lighting of the tunnel at the junction of the 2 and 5 freeways where a tanker truck carrying 8,500-gallons of fuel overturned and burst into flame on Saturday morning.

A statement issued by the state highway agency said:

Caltrans structural, design, maintenance, and construction engineers have instructed the contractor to construct a temporary system to support the columns which hold the lanes of northbound and southbound I-5.  Once the shoring system is complete, the I-5 lanes closures will be lifted.  The lanes are expected to open by Tuesday, July 16.

The return of weekday traffic threatens to snarl traffic even further across portions of Atwater, Echo Park, Elysian Valley and Silver Lake as freeway traffic is directed on to surface streets.

Traffic was already bad on certain streets on Sunday, including a mile-long stretch of Glendale Boulevard, pictured above, that was jammed from the 2 Freeway north to Riverside Drive.

Here’s a run down of the closures:

  • Northbound I-5 closed at SR-2
  • Northbound I-5 to Southbound SR-2 connector
  • Southbound SR-2 to Southbound I-5 connector
  • Northbound SR-2 to Northbound I-5
  • Southbound I-5, the #3 and #4 lanes are closed from Los Feliz to Stadium Way

*Update: CHP reports that the 2 Freeway is now open northbound and southbound.

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  1. Your caption is doin it wrong. That picture is of backed up Northbound traffic on Glendale Blvd in Silverlake, not Southbound.

  2. Thanks for the detailed info! I know someone else already said this, but I sure hope the tanker truck company is liable for all this. What a freaking disaster. Beside the environmental damage and the traffic nightmares, I imagine it’s millions of dollars if they need to partially rebuild those underpasses. And I would like to think that tanker-truck drivers are held to higher standards of safety, given the enormous dangers involved.

    • Nobody has said what caused the accident yet. Perhaps the truck was driving too fast, perhaps not. Just because it was an evil oil truck doesn’t mean you should jump to any conclusions or cast blame yet. The taxpayers pay for and maintain the highways, through gas tax. In that respect, this truck is a revenue generator for the state. And oil is an ingredient in asphalt which the highways are paved with.

      • Nothing “evil” about tanker-trucks, but they are dangerous. A spilled load of gasoline or oil is a much bigger deal than a bunch of coconuts.There was a huge fire in the Newhall Pass tunnel in 2007, and two years ago a big tanker truck fire shut down the 60 fwy.

      • So let me get this straight, Kyle. The taxpayers pay gas taxes, yet it’s the oil truck that generates that revenue? If anyone should be rushing to no conclusions it is you. Lisa only mentioned that she hopes the tanker truck company is liable and didn’t even mention oil. Talk about sounding like a twitchy oil-industry apologist.

      • Gas taxes don’t completely pay for any roads, even the interstates. City streets are only paid for about 60% by gas taxes and other user fees, while the rest comes from general funds. For interstates I’m having trouble finding the numbers, but it looks like it’s about 90% gas taxes and other user fees, but still about 10% is paid for by people who never use the roads, or by road users paying other taxes.


      • Good thing it wasn’t a bicyclist that caused the accident.

  3. Let’s hope we don’t have any good shakers while those temporary supports are up…oy vey!

  4. Grahm Wellington

    Well how fortunate for all of the LA commuters that we have all those new handy-dandy bike lanes!

    • Yes, it is. Now when traffic is bad we can hop on our bikes an alternative means of transit.

      • Too bad my commute is 23 miles. each way.

      • Grahm Wellington

        Yeah, that [biking] solution will work! (for about 3% of the people effected)

        • Not sure where you’re getting that figure, but the average commute for those living in 90026 is 3.5 miles (http://hairycow.name/commute_map/)… that’s an easy bike ride and I’m sure if LA’s streets were actually hospitable to human beings than overtime we could very easily see bike mode share hit 10% as other progressive communities like Portland or Berkeley are approaching (not to mention walk share and bus share – both negatively affected by high speed arterial highways masquerading as “streets”.)

          If properly planned, a proper bike lane network could simply offset travel times for most motorists by increasing road capacity and taking many cars off the road for shorter trips. It could also help reduce maintenance costs for public streets (of which we all pay for, no matter how we choose to use them.) And hey, it might even raise property values for the neighborhood… just look at the streets with bike lanes: Silver Lake, York, Spring – all thriving!

          And let’s be honest, even if bike lanes were added on every major street (as is outlined in the city’s bike plan: http://ladotbikeblog.wordpress.com/) motorists will still have the lion’s share of street space all over LA. We’re just asking for a modicum of space on our streets so we can feel safer sharing them with you.

          • Thanks. Great info. Most people who don’t like bikes also don’t like facts or statistics.

          • I recognize real, I totally agree with this guy. He does have a valid point, or two, even three or more! I just picked up a couple of bikes of my own, actually three. But, yes I feel we all need our place in this city.

      • dilated peephole

        @Jonjon So to follow your logic, if you can call it “logic”, the people driving trucks for a living that use the 5 South to get to the 60 should unload all the materials they’re hauling onto the back of a bike? Does that make any sense to you?

        People driving home in family vans with families in them should get out of them and use biikes during this fiasco? Oh and don’t come back with oh it would be good for them bs.

        I’m talking coming from the 5 South, exiting on Fletcher, turning right on Fletcher, and then having to wait on Rowena forever all the while a bike lane, with no bikers on it to begin with btw, takes the place of a much needed lane of traffic. Instead of going through all of that, we should all just get on a bike, and bike the whole way through.


    • YEAH MAN. Having safe alternatives to sitting in traffic for 4 hours really sucks!!!!

  5. It may not be clear from the info here but the Southbound 2 has been completely closed at the 5, you are forced to get on the 5 north. You can’t continue on the 2 into Echo Park.

  6. will someone inform me: as I came down the 2 today and was diverted by signs telling me ALL traffic was being sent to the 5 N (by way of Fletcher), I looked over and it looked like 1 lane of cars was slowly continuing down the 2 into Echo Park. I don’t know if they were able to go over the flyover onto Glendale south or if they were shunted to the Glendale N exit. I did see cars continuing past Fletcher exit in a single lane…..Can anyone confirm this or clarify? Thanks

    • I don’t know but I can confirm that this evening, some cars were coming down the flyaway from the 2 onto Glendale south.

  7. I was not forced to take the Fletcher exit, if you stayed on past Fletcher one lane of cars went onto the ramp to the 5 north. The lanes to the 5 south were blocked off as was the secret exit to Riverside. I had to take the 5 and exit at Glendale and I won’t bore you with the back way I finally took to get home from there.

  8. Today I realized that Google maps show real-time traffic for major surface streets as well as for freeways. You zoom in a little and click on “traffic.” This enabled me to see that Glendale north, Fletcher, and San Fernando were completely jammed, and that some other streets were not. (Knowing about this would have saved me a lot of time and wasted effort on Saturday!) This function is also apparently available on smartphones. Very helpful.

  9. Today (Sunday) I realized that Google maps show real-time traffic for major surface streets as well as for freeways. You zoom in a little and click on “traffic.” This let me see that Glendale north, Fletcher, and San Fernando were completely and that some other streets were okay. (Knowing about this would have saved me a lot of time and wasted effort on Saturday!) This function is also apparently available on smartphones. Very helpful.

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