WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today announced the immediate availability of $3 million in “quick release” Emergency Relief (ER) funds for use by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to offset costs of emergency repair work on a section of Interstate 10 near downtown Los Angeles damaged by a fire that took place under the interstate and resulted in a closure in both directions.
“This segment of I-10 is a vital corridor in our Interstate Highway System, and it’s important to hundreds of thousands of commuters as well as to America’s supply chains that it be quickly repaired,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “These federal emergency funds will help California launch this urgent repair work, and the Biden-Harris administration stands ready to provide further resources as necessary to address this issue quickly and safely.”
Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt joined state and local officials at the site earlier this week and reiterated the U.S. Department of Transportation’s commitment to provide Federal assistance and support to help Caltrans make repairs expeditiously.
“We know the I-10 corridor is a critical connection for both people and goods traveling in and around Los Angeles,” said FHWA Administrator Bhatt. “The quick release funding we’re providing Caltrans is the first of many steps we are taking to help California get this key route open as soon as possible for the workers, residents and businesses that rely on this route every day.”
FHWA staff are on the ground offering support to local and state officials and are providing technical assistance to help respond to the closure of the portion of the freeway.
Beginning on November 11, 2023, a massive fire near downtown Los Angeles caused extensive damages to a portion of the I-10 freeway structure in Los Angeles County, resulting in closure of the damaged section of the freeway. Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency the same day. Caltrans continues to conduct emergency operations, performing emergency repairs and continually assessing impacts, including structural damages and traffic operations.
The “quick release” Emergency Relief funding announced today, in response to a request by Caltrans for $3 million, will primarily be used to assist with critical activities required to repair the structure and safely reopen this section of I-10 as quickly as possible, including ongoing traffic control, removal of hazardous waste, and temporary shoring of the structure at the damage site. The I-10 corridor is a vital connection for people and goods traveling in and around Los Angeles and is a major artery that serves approximately 300,000 vehicles daily.
FHWA’s Emergency Relief program provides funding to States, territories, Tribes, and Federal Land Management Agencies for highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic external events. These “quick release” Emergency Relief funds are an initial installment of funds to help restore essential transportation. Additional funds needed to repair the damage to I-10 in California will continue to be supported by the Emergency Relief program.
More information about FHWA’s Emergency Relief program can be found online at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/programadmin/erelief.cfm.
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