Last-minute shoppers dodge 60 Freeway's damaged Paramount Bridge

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Last-minute holiday shoppers near the Shops and Montebello Mall may have to be a little more patient during the holiday rush. Nearby, crews on the 60 Freeway are working to repair the fire-damaged Paramount Bridge. Without access to that structure, people north and south of the freeway are having a hard time finding their way to the shopping area.

At midday, traffic on the eastbound side of the Pomona Freeway from the 710 to the Paramount exit was moving swiftly at about 70 miles an hour.

But as you approach the next exit at San Gabriel Blvd, you can see remnants from the damaged freeway as Caltrans continues to work on rebuilding the structure. There were no slowdowns on the freeway in either direction.

Workers say that if traffic continues to move as smoothly through the weekend, last-minute shoppers should be in good shape. But don’t get your hopes up. Even though L.A. County Public Works and several cities have created detours to move motorists around with greater ease, there's still the possibility of a traffic headache.

Most drivers who navigate the 60 Freeway at Paramount Boulevard will be directed east to San Gabriel Boulevard. It’ll remain that way until Caltrans finishes their repairs to the Paramount Bridge next summer.

On Friday, a few shoppers at Macy's, right off the 60 near the bridge, said the trip there wasn't too much of a headache

Veronica Rodriguez says she barely tapped her brakes along the Pomona Freeway.

"I came from Vegas," she said. "So I noticed about the bridge up there that it’s kind of messed up.”

Her sister Yvonne added that they were able to breeze through traffic on their way to Macy’s. “Traffic wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t as bad as I thought," she said.

That's good news for nearby businesses who'd been bracing themselves for slower than usual traffic on some of their peak sales days.

“Last week was really slow for everybody around here," said Miguel Zamora. He manages Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse on San Gabriel Blvd right along the 60. The bridge shutdown from that tanker fire hit his restaurant hard.

"No one was able to get to our businesses," he said. "So we dropped about 60 percent of our regular business.”

Zamora says he expects to sell more rib-eye steaks during the weekend as hungry people take a break from all last-minute holiday shopping.

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