Celebration for reopening of I-5 freeway tunnel

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Interstate 5

(AP Photo)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – State and local dignitaries today celebrated the completion of rebuilding work on a connector tunnel from the northbound Glendale (2) Freeway to the Golden State (5) Freeway, replacing one that was severely damaged in a tanker truck fire.

The $16 million repair job was finalized when the tunnel opened for traffic around 11 a.m., ending a construction project that began shortly after the July 13 truck crash and resulting fire.

A tanker truck overturned in the small tunnel, spilling about 8,500 gallons of gasoline that caught fire, sending thick columns of black smoke into the air.

The fire did substantial damage to the tunnel and pavement, all of which was torn out and replaced as part of the rebuilding project.

“In California, we know how to make things happen when we need to, and that’s what this demonstrates,” Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said.

The new tunnel is equipped with energy-efficient lights that self-adjust over the course of the day, Caltrans officials said.

Councilman Tom LaBonge said the connector is an important link for the 5 Freeway, which stretches from Mexico to Canada.

“And this connector was so important for that and the impact on neighborhood streets,” LaBonge said.

The $16 million repair cost will be reimbursed by the federal government.

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