Fire-damaged freeway tunnel remains closed as tests and clean up continue

Crews drill holes into concrete exposed to intense heat from tanker truck fire/Caltrans District 7

Ferroscanners are used to find the location of rebar inside concrete./Caltrans District 7

Caltrans engineers are still trying to determine the extent of damage to a traffic tunnel at the junction of the 2 and 5 freeways nearly three weeks after a tanker truck carrying 8,500-gallons of fuel caught fire in the passageway. The highway agency has not said when it expects the tunnel connecting the northbound 2 Freeway to the northbound 5 Freeway to reopen.

Caltrans workers have been testing samples of concrete to determine its strength, and holes have been drilled into the freeway structure to allow a camera to be inserted for a closer view of potential damage, according to Caltrans District 7.

Meanwhile, a private contractor has been working in nearby storm drains to remove sediment tainted with gasoline.  Flaming fuel from the tanker flowed through the storm drains and under the streets of Elysian Valley before entering the bed of the L.A. River.

Another round of testing is still needed before Caltrans can determine what kind of repairs need to be made. The second phase, according to a Caltrans press release, involves radar:

The second phase of testing will include the use of a ground penetrating radar (GPR) and an impact echo device to determine if there is additional cracking within the concrete inside of the walls, ceiling, columns, and pavement.”


  1. Yep. Ran into a huge unexpected slowdown on the 5N before the 2 at 1am today. Understand that night is the best time to do the work – but wish that with all the freeway signage options, that things like this could have warnings posted earlier!

  2. Yet another reason the 710 freeway tunnel extension should NOT happen!

    • I was thinking the exact same thing. It would be a nightmare if an accident like this were to occur in the tunnels Metro is gunning for.

  3. And this tunnel is short! The proposed SR-710 tunnels are estimated to be 4.9 miles long, 100-200 feet underground with up to a 4% slope and no exits. The longest road tunnel ever proposed in the U.S. How could you possibly escape any fire that breaks out inside?? We cannot let them build this thing and we certainly must do something to stop all these big rig fires we have had in the past 5 years. it’s getting worse every day. There were 2 on the 60 right before this one.

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