LOS ANGELES — More than a week after an arson fire scorched a main artery south of Los Angeles, the highway has reopened.
Interstate 10 reopened before Monday morning’s rush hour, a day earlier than planned and even weeks earlier than originally thought, The Associated Press reported.
KNBC reported that the first cars were allowed on the highway at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
Mayor Karen Bass made the announcement on social media, writing “The 10 is BACK!” accompanied by a time-lapse drive along the freeway.
A fire had been started on Nov. 11, forcing the shutdown of the highway as crews worked around the clock to make sure the road was ready for traffic.
About 100 support columns were burned by the flames that had started in flammable materials that had been stored under the highway, which was a violation of the lease that had rented the property, the AP reported.
Up to nine columns were severely damaged and Newsome had said they had been talking about replacing a large portion of the road, KTTV reported.
Last week, officials said they had hoped to have it open by Tuesday but safety inspections showed that the highway was safe for reopening starting Sunday night.
“It wasn’t just speed that we were after. We wanted to make sure this thing was safe,” California Gov. Gavin Newsome said during a news conference, the AP reported.
There will still be work being done on their highway that would cause “episodic closures” but are not to impact daily commutes significantly. Crews will still be working around the clock to get the repairs made, KTTV reported.
KNBC reported that the closures will happen on “occasional weekends and overnight.”
Police have a person of interest for the alleged arson, saying that it was a man who was captured on camera, who appears to be between 30 and 35 years old and possibly has a burn on his left leg. He also had a knee brace on his right knee, KTTV reported. The company that leased the land under the overpass, Apex Development Inc., is also under investigation. The company is accused of subleasing the property to at least five other businesses, which officials said brought items to the lot that were not authorized.