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Traffic Nightmare: Fire Damage On 5 Freeway Connector Could Snarl Morning Commute

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Authorities are warning anyone planning to use the 5 Freeway to pass through central Los Angeles tomorrow to consider an alternative route. Caltrans is strengthening the connector damaged in a fire caused by an overturned tanker truck carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline yesterday.

Caltrans says the intense heat from the fire damaged the pavement, walls, support columns, drainage and lighting in the tunnel. Authorities are working around the clock to create a temporary support system of columns where the fire broke out, but they may not be able to re-open all the lanes currently closed in the area until as late as Tuesday, according to Caltrans. Here are the current closures caused by the fire:

Closures currently in place:
Northbound I-5 closed at SR-2
Northbound SR-2 at Glendale Boulevard
Northbound I-5 to Southbound SR-2 connector
Southbound SR-2 to Southbound I-5 connector
Northbound SR-2 to Northbound I-5
Southbound I-5, the #3 and #4 lanes are closed from Los Feliz to Stadium Way

The agency says the northbound SR-2/northbound I-5 connector is closed "indefinitely."Since the fire was put out, traffic has been slow-going on the 101 Freeway alternate route, as well as the 5 Freeway. If this is what traffic looks like on a Sunday afternoon, imagine how gnarly it could get during the morning commute:

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Drivers who are traveling from Southern California to Central or Northern California are being advised to take a route that doesn't cut through the heart of Los Angeles like the 101 and 5 freeways. Authorities are suggesting people take the 405 Freeway (imagine that!) or heading east to Pasadena and taking the 210 Freeway. Another option that takes you pretty far east is getting on the 15 freeway to Highway 395, then taking Highway 58 to connect to Highway 99 or 5 Freeway. (If that doesn't sound too much like "The Californians.")

You can keep up with the closures on the Twitter feeds of Caltrans or the CHP.

UPDATE: Lanes Reopening After Fiery Tanker Crash Spills 8,500 Of Gas On Roadway

Overturned Tanker Truck Causes Raging Fire At 5 and 2 Freeways