I-10 shut down: Huge fire underneath overpass prompted L.A. closure

Trucking news and briefs for Monday, Nov. 13, 2023:

I-10 closed in L.A. due to fire

I-10 fire Los AngelesA fire that spread to a storage area under an I-10 overpass in downtown Los Angeles has the interstate shut down in the area until the damage can be assessed and any necessary repairs made.Los Angeles Emergency Management DepartmentA fire at a storage yard in downtown Los Angeles that began in the early morning hours Saturday, Nov. 11, has shut down I-10 in the area indefinitely.

The Los Angeles City Fire Department reported that when arriving at the fire near the 1700 block of East 14th Street, it found a large storage yard with pallets, trailers and vehicles “well involved in fire with buildings exposed.” Wind then pushed the heat and flames under the interstate and across the street, igniting another storage yard under the interstate.

As a result, I-10 is closed in both directions, between the East L.A. interchange and Alameda Street, according to the Los Angeles Emergency Management Department.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) does not yet have a timeline for reopening the interstate.

The following Tweet from Caltrans shows detours around the closed portion of the interstate.

This isn’t the first time a major interstate has shut down after a fire underneath an overpass. A tanker truck overturned under I-95 in Philadelphia in June, catching fire and causing the overpass to collapse. After some “innovative” and “out-of-the-box” moves from PennDOT, the interstate was reopened just 12 days after the shutdown.

In 2017, I-85 in Atlanta collapsed after a fire broke out underneath the bridge. It was reopened within six weeks.

I-10 in Los Angeles did not collapse, as with both Philadelphia and Atlanta fires. Caltrans is working to assess damage before determining a timeline for reopening.

[Related: Tanker in I-95 bridge collapse lost control on off-ramp]

Georgia fuel tax suspended through Nov. 29

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp last week issued an executive order renewing a state of emergency, extending the suspension of the fuel tax in the state.

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For truck drivers fueling up in the Peach State, that means a 35-cent discount at the pump with the diesel tax removed from the price.

Kemp initially issued an executive order suspending the fuel tax on Sept. 12, “due to the ongoing economic hardships caused by rampant inflation.” He renewed the order on Oct. 6 through Nov. 11, and on Nov. 8, he renewed the order once again, through Nov. 29.

The shorter extension is to help Georgians “cope with high food and travel costs through the Thanksgiving holiday,” a press releasee from the governor’s office said.

Mack recalls medium-duty trucks over steering issue

Mack Trucks is recalling approximately 74 model year 2024 MD trucks in which the steering wheel attachment bolt may loosen and separate from the steering shaft, causing the steering wheel to detach, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

Mack said the recall population is trucks built when the incorrect tool was being used to install the steer shaft retention bolt between Sept. 19 and Oct. 5, 2023, which may have resulted in an over-torque or under-torque condition. 

The driver may notice excessive play or looseness in the steering wheel, which could provide warning, Mack added.

Owners are advised not to drive their vehicles until the repair has been performed. Dealers will replace the steering wheel retention bolt, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed Dec. 15. Owners can contact Mack's customer service at 800-866-1177 with recall number SC0453. NHTSA’s recall number is 23V-746.

Cummins nat-gas engine recall extends to certain Freightliners

Daimler Trucks North America is recalling approximately 19 model year 2024 Freightliner M2 and 114SD trucks equipped with Cummins L9N natural gas engines.

As reported last week, the rear lifting bracket that attaches to the engine cylinder head may be insufficiently secured, which can allow it to detach. A rear lifting bracket that detaches while the engine is being lifted can result in the engine falling or swinging, increasing the risk of injury.

Cummins said that the subject engines may have been built with incorrect length flanged studs attaching the rear lifting bracket to the cylinder head.

Cummins dealers will inspect and replace the flanged stud in the rear lifting bracket, as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed Jan. 1, 2024. Owners can contact DTNA customer service at 800-547-0712 with recall number FL983. NHTSA’s recall number is 23V-737.

[Related: Mack recalls small number of trucks equipped with nat-gas Cummins engine]