Vice president Kamala Harris with Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sen. Alex Padilla, California Secretary of Transportation Toks Omishakin and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass greet a line of Caltrans workers who worked to repair the 1-10 freeway after fire closed the interstate for more than a week. Photo ByLila Brown/ California Black Media
On Nov. 19, Vice President Kamala Harris accompanied by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Mayor Karen Bass and other state and city officials visited the I-10 freeway construction site in Los Angeles, which was previously the site of a freeway fire.
At a news conference, Harris announced that the highway would be reopened before the morning rush hour on Nov. 20. Around 7:30 p.m. that same evening, the Governor’s office followed up with an announcement that the Department of Transportation had reopened the highway.
“Traffic is now flowing on five lanes in each direction between Alameda Street and the East Los Angeles interchange, ahead of tomorrow morning’s commute and before the Thanksgiving holiday, reducing the disruption to Los Angeles commuters,” the announcement read.
On Nov. 11, a fire that started in a nearby storage yard engulfed the freeway damaging the understructure of the thoroughfare that runs through downtown Los Angeles and ends in Santa Monica. The blaze downed power lines and damaged several vehicles, support columns and highway guardrails.
During her visit, Harris highlighted the federal government’s historic investment of $400 billion in infrastructure funding for the project, thanked hundreds of union workers for fast tracking the repair, and pledged to continue delivering investments for communities across California and throughout America.
“The work that happened here is extraordinary. It was possible with the will and ambition of the workers on the ground, and their commitment as public servants and as union members to get this done and deliver for the people of Los Angeles,” said Harris. “This is the kind of work that is happening around the country — where hardworking men and women, carpenters, laborers and government workers are rebuilding America’s infrastructure.”
Last week, Gov. Newsom announced Caltrans emergency contractors cleared all hazardous materials from the site and that the Biden-Harris Administration had approved California’s request for $3 million in “quick release” funds to offset initial costs.
On Nov 17, Bass announced financial support and resources that are available for businesses impacted by the I-10 closure. Under the mayor’s direction, the Economic Workforce and Development Department (EWDD) launched a grant program for affected businesses. The agency is accepting applications until midnight on Dec. 10.