Freeway Connection Remains Closed After Crash

Authorities were working today to determine if a freeway bridge in Long Beach was safe to reopen, following a fiery weekend crash of a gasoline tanker truck that took the life of a trucker.

The connector from the eastbound Artesia (91) Freeway to the northbound Long Beach (710) Freeway has been closed since the crash that occurred about 5:45 p.m. Saturday.

The tanker overturned and burst into flames, landing below the freeway and spilling its load of 8,000 pounds of ethanol, said California Highway Patrol Officer David Porter.

The heat was so intense that guardrails melted and chunks of concrete came off the bridge.

Public safety officials were concerned that the fire might have compromised the bridge and ordered it closed until structural engineers could make a safety assessment.

The 710 Freeway reopened a couple hours after the crash, and the 91 Freeway opened during the night. But the transition road from the eastbound 91 to the northbound 710 remained closed Monday afternoon, said CHP Officer Francisco Villalobos.

Caltrans crews inspected the bridge Sunday and began repairing the damage, but authorities could not say when it will be reopened or describe the full extent of the damage.  

Also closed was the slow lane of the westbound 91 Freeway in the area, along with the transition from the westbound 91 Freeway to the southbound 710 Freeway.

The 51-year-old trucker's name was withheld pending notification of relatives.     

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us