Patrick Healy and Sue Monroe
Crews continued to work around the clock to clean up the colossal mess from a Wednesday tanker fire along the 60 Freeway under the Paramount Boulevard bridge in Montebello
Caltrans crews continued work Friday in an effort to reopen the 60 Freeway and ease commuter frustration after a tanker fire Wednesday on the east-west route prompted a major road closure and traffic backups throughout the area.
Crews are attempting to repair an overpass that was damaged when the tanker carrying 8,800 gallons of gasoline caught fire.
Early Friday, crews discovered tubing at the site that might contain a hazardous material, possibly asbestos. Although they could not immediately determine that the material was hazardous, Caltrans officials said they were taking precautions.
Late Thursday, crews found AT&T lines that need to be relocated.
"Then we can finish demolishing the bridge over the eastbound lanes,'' said California Department of Transportation spokesman Patrick Chandler. "We will clear off the rebar and concrete, then start repair of the freeway.''
The phone line work and significant structrual repairs required for the Paramount Boulevard bridge -- at least part of which will be demolished -- mean the freeway might remain closed into the weekend. The closure of the major route led to clogged traffic Thursday and early Friday on nearby freeways and streets.
Eastbound traffic can enter the freeway at four on-ramps that are east of Paramount Boulevard: San Gabriel Boulevard, Rosemead Boulevard, Santa Anita Avenue and Durfee Avenue.
Westbound traffic can enter the freeway at two on-ramps that are west of Paramount Boulevard: Garfield Avenue and Atlantic Boulevard.
Public transit, such as Metrolink, is another option.
The problems began Wednesday afternoon when a tanker caught fire under the overpass. A preliminary investigation indicated the truck's brakes may have overheated, CHP Officer Vince Ramirez said.