Interstate 5 re-opens after big rig accident over the weekend

by Stephanie Stanton
NBC News

One of the main traffic veins on the west coast reopened Monday after a deadly truck pile up that closed it down over the weekend.

On Friday, three people died in the crash that involved 30 trucks and one car in the Interstate Five tunnel near Los Angeles.

Since the accident, construction crews in southern California have worked around the clock to repair the damage.

By Monday morning rush hour, all lanes of the freeway north and south were reopened but the truck tunnel where the accident occurred remains closed.

John Lutz of the California Highway Patrol said, "This corridor is extremely important it goes all the way from Canada to Mexico it passes through this valley in this one location here"

The entire freeway was shut down late Friday night after a fiery chain re-action crash inside the truck tunnel involving 30 big rigs and one car.

One driver said, "They just started hitting me one right after the other turned me around in there and I coupled hear trucks hitting back further just bang bang bang"
Three people died, ten people were hurt.

By late Sunday, crews had cleared debris from the tunnel and were able to assess the damage.

The intense heat caused concrete to exploded exposing some of the steel beneath.

L.A. County Fire Inspector Jason Hurd said, "Very intense fire, we are looking at temperatures well over a 1000 degrees for quite some time. The fire burned intensely for over 4 hours."

Crews continued to shore up the tunnel, which is used mainly by trucks, but it could be months before it is reopened.

In the meantime, cars and trucks will have to use the main freeway.
And that will likely mean on-going traffic delay for the thousands of commuters that use this freeway each and every day.