The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

El Camino reacts to closure of fire-damaged local freeway, set to reopen ahead of schedule

A line of cars turn into Lemoli Avenue from Manhattan Beach Boulevard to enter parking Lot C at El Camino College early in the morning on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023. (Delfino Camacho | The Union)

After a portion of the 10 Freeway that goes through South Los Angeles was shut down on Saturday, Nov. 11.

Due to fire damage, city officials have announced the freeway will reopen faster than anticipated and be fully operational by Monday, Nov. 20.

The fire began in a pallet yard underneath the freeway. Investigators said the cause of the fire was arson.

The LA Times said the fire spread to a second pallet yard and damaged the freeway enough to cause the initial shutdown. City officials originally estimated weeks to a full month of repair, bringing fears of increased traffic.

El Camino College President Brenda Thames sent out a mass email statement on Tuesday, Nov. 14 which informed of the freeway damage and the reality of an increased commute that could potentially affect both students and employees.

“Given the potential impact on students and staff traveling to campus for classes or work, it is encouraged to exercise some reasonable measure of flexibility with students and staff who may have trouble attending or arriving on time to campus,” read the email.

The email also said the college would be monitoring the situation for updates.

However, in a press conference over the weekend, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the damaged and closed portions had been repaired ahead of schedule and would be partially opened the night of Sunday, Nov. 19 and be fully open on Monday.

The early reopening of the five full lanes of the 10 Freeway that stretch between Alameda Street and Santa Fe Avenue ahead of Thanksgiving week benefits commuters, including some El Camino community members.

The Union spoke to some El Camino employees and students who commute to campus and usually take the 10 Freeway on Wednesday, Nov. 15. Due to the closures, many have adjusted their schedules and routes.

Sebastian Araque is a student at El Camino and works as an administrative assistant in the division office of the Math Business Allied Health Building.

“I live in Downey and usually take the 10 freeway to get to El Camino College and now I have to start leaving much earlier so I don’t arrive late to school,” Araque said.

Others affected by the traffic include Claudia Campos who works with the Special Resources Center test accommodations.

“I take the 105 freeway on my commute and I always see the mess on the 10 Freeway and I leave earlier to avoid more of the messy traffic,” Campos said.

Library and Learning Resource Specialist Erika Yates said because she has lived in Los Angeles for so long, she knows her way around the closures.

“I know how to avoid the heavy traffic, and I know where the hidden gems are,” Yates said.

Engineering major Angel Tapia, 20, said he spent Saturday driving to Little Tokyo and Griffith Park with some friends.

When Tapia and his friends arrived back home and saw news of the freeway fire, they realized they had avoided it.

“We dodged a bullet,” Tapia said.

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