What's next for the 60 freeway

All lanes of the 60 reopened mid-afternoon Saturday after a three-day closure promoted by a tanker truck fire. This photo was tweeted by Caltrans.
All lanes of the 60 reopened mid-afternoon Saturday after a three-day closure promoted by a tanker truck fire. This photo was tweeted by Caltrans. Via Caltrans

All lanes of the 60 were reopened to traffic Saturday, three days after both directions of the key route were closed because a burning gasoline tanker incinerated part of a huge overpass.

Westbound lanes were opened at 11:05 a.m., and eastbound lanes were reopened at about 3 p.m., said Caltrans spokesman Patrick Chandler said. Earlier in the day, Caltrans officials had said both directions would not
reopen until Sunday evening.

Now, Caltrans engineers face removing the northern half of the fire-damaged Paramount Boulevard bridge, which still sits above the westbound freeway. That operation will force closure of the westbound freeway from 11 p.m. Sunday until 5 a.m. Monday, a pattern that will repeat for the following two nights and mornings, Chandler said.

Then, the state must design and build a new overpass for the boulevard, a key commerce link next to the Montebello Town Center Mall. Still to be addressed is how that will be paid for, and how much it will cost, state
officials said.

By sunrise today, all of the southern half of the Paramount Boulevard overpass had been removed, leaving only a temporary steel beam that was suspended above eastbound freeway lanes to support a key fiber communications

During the day, contractors continued to grapple with the fiber line buried in the northern half of the damaged structure, above the westbound freeway lanes, Chandler said. Workers today tore out enough of the northern side of the overpass to allow the critical fiber line to be daylighted, and then shifted over onto another temporary beam.

On the freeway itself, other crews today repaired about 1,000 square feet of damaged concrete lanes of the eastbound 60, after the last overpass debris had been carted off. The concrete pavement, first poured in the early 1960s, had been baked into destruction by incredible temperatures from the 8,800 gallons of gasoline that burned.

The driver of a double-tanker truck noticed his rig on fire as he traveled east on the 60 last Wednesday, and stopped beneath the only overpass on a two-mile-long stretch of freeway.

A preliminary investigation indicated the truck's brakes may have overheated, causing the fire, CHP Officer Vince Ramirez said. The truck was apparently operated by Cool Transports of Colton.

At one point today, engineers said that process would mean the freeway would be closed until Sunday evening. But a way was found to do the work later. During the overnight westbound closures, the eastbound 60 will remain
open, but with two lanes blocked off for safety, Chandler said.

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