Crews Continue Working to Reopen 60 Freeway Bridge

Repairs to a freeway overpass require an extended closure after Wednesday's tanker fire


Significant repair work continues Friday at the site of a tanker fire on the 60 Freeway, meaning the freeway might possibly remain closed until the weekend.

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Crews have significant work ahead on an overpass damaged by Wednesday's tanker fire in Montebello, Caltrans said. The Paramount bridge work will be required before crews can reopen the east-west route between the  710 Freeway and 605 Freeway.

Early Friday, crews discovered some tubing used to construct that bridge 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 night, workers uncovered another hurdle when they realized AT&T lines would need to be moved. Crews will have to work closely with AT&T so they don't sever phone service for customers.

Scroll down to view a traffic map screengrab taken at about 8:15 a.m. At 5:30 a.m., traffic was already backing up on nearby alternate routes. Traffic was slow on the westbound 10 Freeway and the 605 Freeway.

"There's too much structural damage,'' California Highway Patrol Officer Luis Mendoza said. "They don't think it can support weight on top.''

The cause of the tanker fire has not been determined. The tanker was carrying about 8,800 gallons of gasoline.

A column of black smoke billowed from the tanker as about 200 firefighters  from Montebello and the Los Angeles County Fire Department converged on the area. The fire was extinguished at about 1 p.m.

"The wind conditions were such, it was kind of pushing the fire to the  south and to the east,'' said Montebello Fire Department Chief Tim Wessel. "Unfortunately, that put the main part of the fire further under the bridge,  causing further damage to the bridge.''

The vehicle's driver and a passenger were able to escape.

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