Updated Sunday, October 14th at 6:27pm
Northbound I-5 TRUCK LANES now open
Southbound I-5 will be open in time for Monday morning rush hour!
Governor declares State of Emergency
3-Fatalities, 2 Adults, 1 Infant
- Caltrans has announced that they have opened the I-5 northbound TRUCK LANES.
- All motorists are being advised to plan for an extra 2 hours during their commute Monday morning.
This morning marks the beginning of phase three of the response to the tragedy in Newhall Pass.
Newhall Pass is a section of the I-5 freeway that runs in Santa Clarita and is the most important road for commuters traveling from Santa Clarita to Los Angeles. 225,000 vehicles travel on the I-5 through the Newhall Pass each day. On Friday night, a fiery collision involving twenty three semi trucks and one passenger vehicle left the truck route tunnel that runs underneath the I-5 smoldering and stuffed full of wreckage.
Officials pulled out twenty five vehicles from the 550 foot tunnel. Twenty four were jack-knifed big-rigs and one passenger vehicle. There were three fatalities, two were adults one was an infant. Current reports say that everyone is accounted for, including the ten individuals who experienced minor injuries and were treated on Friday night. A total of 29 vehicles were involved in the disaster. The additional five vehicles crashed outside the tunnel.
"I've seen many wrecks," said Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesperson, Captain Mike Brown. "It's a miracle we didn't have more injuries."
The Fire Department was able to clear the debris much sooner than anticipated. All debris was removed by 7am this Sunday morning, eleven hours earlier than original projections.
Now, the Fire Department has done their job; they put out the fire and cleared the tunnel of debris. In all, three people lost their lives in the wreck, and ten more suffered minor to moderate injuries. KHTS followed the story for the first twenty four hours, and you can read that story by clicking here.
Caltrans will now begin the third chapter of this saga, which is rushing to get the tunnel safe enough for the I-5 freeway to run on top of it. The fire that resulted from the collision burned intensely in the tunnel for nearly four hours, and the heat has damaged the tunnel. But Caltrans Director Will Kempton told reporters that he didn’t believe the structure had to be wholly replaced.
Instead, shoring has already begun. Shoring is the process of supporting the tunnel roof so that it will not collapse. Once this is complete, traffic on the I-5 will be re-opened while crews work to permanently fix the tunnel structure. The southbound I-5 could be open by late Monday, and the northbound I-5, within 24-hours after that. Cal Trans expects to have the Northbound truck lanes open sometime today.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today issued a state of emergency for our area The Governor's emergency proclamation allows the state Office of Emergency Services (OES) to deploy emergency personnel, equipment and facilities and provide local government assistance under the authority of the California Disaster Assistance Act. The funding increase will also be aided by an expedited permitting process to repair the tunnel.
The public at this point should be attempting to find alternative travel routes if they need to venture south of Santa Clarita. The 14 freeway is open.
The City of Santa Clarita issued these road detours during the emergency:
The City has also released a new map of closures, which you can download by clicking here .
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.
- The northbound TRUCK LANES on the I-5 have been opened.
- 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