Tanker truck fire may leave motorists in a long-term jam*

The remains of tanker truck in freeway tunnel./Caltrans Distric 7/Twitter

The California Highway Patrol warned motorists that freeway lane closures related to today’s tanker truck fire at the 2 and 5 freeway interchange might be “long term” as officials determine whether the blaze had caused any structural damage.

The northbound 5 Freeway may reopen on Sunday, according to the CHP, but other closures may last longer.

“Expect this closure to be in place for several days,” said Caltrans spokesman Patrick Chandler.  There is “very severe fire damage.”

Officials closed the northbound 5 at the 2 Freeway and several other transition roads after a tanker truck transporting 8,500 gallons of fuel overturned in a tunnel and triggered a fiery fuel spill that poured through storm drains and into the L.A. River.   The  tunnel (pictured above) that funnels traffic from the northbound 2 Freeway to the northbound 5 Freeway  remains closed as Caltrans officials inspect the damage.  The southbound 2 at the 5 freeway was also shut down.

The partial closure of  the 5 freeway and the interchange tied up traffic on nearby streets and also found eastbound traffic on the 10 Freeway jammed through Boyle Heights and City Terrace.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, advised fans coming to this afternoon’s game to take alternative routes or public transportation.

The CHP, in a Sunday morning Tweet, provided a run down of the freeway lane closures:

  • Northbound  5 Freeway closed at Fletcher, all traffic diverted to northbound 2 Freeway.
  • Left lanes of southbound 5 Freeway are closed.
  • Southbound 2  Freeway closed at 5 Freeway, traffic diverted to northbound 5.
  • Northbound 2 Freeway to northbound 5 Freeway closed.

* Update: Caltrans said the closures will remain in place through Monday


  1. holy guacamole. holy…guacamole.

  2. please tell me the company that owns the tanker will be liable for

  3. Anyone know if the la river bike lane is open? Thanks

  4. If it turns out that tunnel needs to be rebuilt I think we’ll find out what Garcetti is made of right away. If he’s smart, he’ll do what Riordan did after the Northridge earthquake when two overpasses on the 10 went down…24 hour reconstruction with decent relocation of any residents that may be effected by 24 hour construction.

  5. thank you for better reporting than the LA Times

  6. I think the tunnel is actually the northbound 2 to the northbound 5… though it is connected to the S 2 to S 5. This google streetview link matches all the photos:


    • Tellef, I thought so too, but now wonder if the underpass pictured in the Eastsider might indeed be the southbound 2 to the southbound 5, and if the picture below in the LA Times article may be the 2 north to the 5 north.


      Unless the remains of the truck have been removed in the LAT picture, or it’s different ends of the same underpass?

      The two underpasses are directly adjacent to each other, separated for most of their length by a wall. So if they’re worried about the fire damaging the freeway above, both may unfortunately be closed for a while, along with the 5 itself…

    • No, it’s definitely the 2 south to the 5 south tunnel that’s closed – I take it every day, and live 2 blocks from the accident site

      • That makes sense. But isn’t the 2 north to the 5 north also closed? It’s right next to the other tunnel and I think it was affected by the fire. It certainly was closed yesterday. (That’s the one that I take all the time.) 🙁

      • I should have been clear… I wasn’t saying which tunnel is closed (though I’d assume both are). I was referring to which tunnel the truck crashed in. From the photo it certainly seems to be 2 north to 5 north. The LA Times photo shows the same end of the same tunnel but with the truck removed or obscured.

  7. The 2 north to the 5 north interchange is where the tanker overturned. The 2 south to the 5 south is also closed. Probably because of collateral damage and/or access issues for investigators. It was a surreal scene though yesterday. Multiple fires, thick and black plumes of smoke, and the series of “booms!” that suddenly emanated from the underground storm drain. For a moment, I was reminded me of the gas line explosions that took place in Guadalajara years ago. Glad it wasn’t anything as catastrophic as that. Also glad and relieved that no lives were lost.

  8. wow, the traffic on San Fernando, Fletcher, and Glendale is a nightmare right now. And it’s only Sunday. Monday is going to suck.

  9. I grew up in this area and traveled these transitions many times a the 2 and 5 Fwy’s. The pic above looks like the 2 south transition to the 5 south. Not the 2 north to the 5 north as stated in the article.

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