After a tanker truck flipped and caught fire beneath the Golden State (5) and Glendale (2) freeways on July 13, the 5 freeway closed for nearly three days causing a major traffic jam, fuel spillage into surrounding drains and a hazardous smoke scare.
Now over a month later, Patrick Chandler, Public Information Officer for Caltrans District 7 (Los Angeles and Ventura Counties) said construction to fix the tunnel will begin in October or November and is tentatively scheduled to be completed by Christmas. While all dates are currently in flux depending on the next stages of the process, Chandler said the project has been fast tracked.
While typical freeway projects can take years from conception to completion, Chandler said the construction on the tunnel will be completed over a couple of months.
“Our engineers have done the tests on the structure,” He said. “So, we’re past that stage and the next thing to do is design a solution.”
Chandler said that solution will include hydro-demolition, a process that uses a high pressure hose to clear burnt concrete off of the inside of the tunnel; high epoxy injections, which will use a strong polymer to fill the cracks in the walls so there is no moisture and the rebar doesn’t rust; and carbon fiber wraps to help support the structure.
Chandler said the damage is estimated at $6 million and at this time, Caltrans legal unit is working with the insurance company and CHP to determine who will pay for the repairs.
Currently, the northbound 2 freeway tunnel is supported by steel I-Beams and wooden beams as well as the structure that is still existing right now. While the concrete in both the walls and floor of the tunnel is badly damaged, Chandler said not all of the rebar has failed and not all of the concrete has failed.
“There was graffiti that was fried onto the wall and there were several layers of paint to cover up the graffiti and it was like bubbling,” Chandler said. “The flames are heating the concrete, so its’ becoming brittle and just popping off.”
In addition, all of contaminated sediment in the drains has been removed. Chandler said Caltrans cleared out about 1,000 feet of drains and at some places almost 11 inches of sediment. Caltrans worked with every environmental agency in the state including the federal EPA and California Fish and Wildlife to ensure the area was safe and clean.
“There shouldn’t be any remnants or left over issues with that,” he said.
Any resident with a question or concern should contact Chandler directly at (213) 897-3630 or email@example.com. Residents can also view the Department of Transportation’s Twitter and Blog for more information or updates on the process.