Multiple trucks and vehicles involved in this major accident. Updated: Sunday morning 8:00am
Multiple trucks and vehicles involved in this major accident.
Updated: Sunday morning 8:00am
Saturday, October 13, 2007
UPDATE: Sunday 8:00am
The I-5 Freeway has been shut down since late Friday night (11:15pm) after 15 big rig trucks collided inside the tunnel at the 14-Freeway, I-5 Intersection. The wreckage stretched for 1/2 mile. Trucks were still smoldering inside the tunnel while the fire continued to burn deep inside the tunnel, as long as 24-hours later.
At a press conference at 5pm, Saturday, Cal-Trans officials stated they do not think the entire structure needs to be replaced. Southbound I-5 could be re-opened by Tuesday morning. The Northbound I-5 may re-open sooner. Truck lanes will not re-open until further evaluation.
Firefighters, determined by Sunday morning 24 vehicles were involved in the accident, including 23 jack-knifed trucks and one passenger vehicle. The Los Angeles County Fire Department has confirmed there have been three fatalities. Most of the wreckage has been cleared out of the 550 foot long tunnel. Now, Cal-Trans engineers are determining the structural integrity of the tunnel.
State Assemblyman Cameron Smyth toured the scene and informed KHTS, he's asking Governor Schwarzenegger to declare the freeway a "Disaster Area," which would free-up immediate funding to assist in the recovery. "Every agency involved knows their role here and they all are working together perfectly," declared Smyth. (Click for Assemblyman Symth's comments from the scene) 
On Friday night, ten people were pulled out of the wreckage when the initial incident occurred. Eight had minor injuries and two moderate injuries. The three fatalities have been confirmed.
The north end of the tunnel appears to have severe damage. The intense heat caused pieces of concrete to explode during the initial 24-hours of the incident. Until Cal-Trans engineers can inspect the sight, it will be unclear as to what repairs will actually be needed. Authorities are estimating they will not have the wreckage cleared until 6pm on Sunday, at which time, the engineers can enter to access the damage.
Whatever they find, shoring will need to take place inside the tunnel while repairs are made.
Traveling on Santa Clarita City surface streets remains a challenge. Try and keep your trips around Santa Clarita at a minimum through Monday.
Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Jason Hurd has indicated that the majority of the fire inside the tunnel is out. Crews are still working on hot spots and progress is being made.
The L.A. County Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials unit and structural inspectors are on the scene and will enter the tunnel as soon as the fire is out to determine if it is safe for personnel to enter.
ALL LANES of the southbound I-5 are closed from Calgrove to the Roxford off-ramp. The I-14 is now open in both directions, northbound and southbound. SB I-5 traffic is being diverted through Santa Clarita on McBean Pkwy, Valencia Blvd. and Newhall Ranch Road/Bouquet Canyon/San Fernando Road to the SB 14. The NB I-5 is closed at the I-14 Interchange. Traffic is begin diverted onto the I-14.
North and southbound lanes of the 14 fwy are open, with southbound traffic moving very slowly. All surface streets heading toward the I-5, I-14 interchange are at a crawl, including Sierra Highway, San Fernando Road, Newhall Road, The Old Road. Try and avoid the area, if at all possible.
All truck routes accessed from the I-5 and I-14 are closed. At this time, there is no ETA from the CHP on when the I-5 will be re-opened.
At 6:55pm on Saturday, the City of Santa Clarita issued these road detours during the emergency:
Road Detours within the City of Santa Clarita
- Southbound Sierra Highway at Dockweiler
- Southbound Sierra Highway at San Fernando Road
- Eastbound San Fernando detoured on the South 14.
- All Interstate 5 on and off ramps in Santa Clarita are closed
- The Old Road from Calgrove Boulevard is southbound traffic only, and this connects to the Interstate 5 at Roxford.
- Foothill Boulevard from Balboa Boulevard open to north bound direction only and connects to SR 14.
- Sierra Highway closed between Foothill Boulevard and San Fernando Road
Tune in to AM-1220, KHTS for immediate details.
Now the reconstruction of the tunnel will begin. To read more on that, click here  .