Southbound I-5 to reopen this morning *

* 8 am update: Lanes were open in both directions this morning.

Caltrans district chief Douglas Failing said the southbound lanes of the freeway would be opened through Newhall Pass in time for this morning's peak rush. Two northbound truck lanes opened for general use on Sunday, and the rest of the northbound lanes might re-open later today. Still, things aren't back to normal. The truck tunnel under I-5 where the semis collided and erupted in flames Saturday morning could remain closed for several months of repairs, forcing trucks onto the always crowded main freeway. Metrolink is adding extra trains and cars through the pass today to help ease the commutes both directions. LAT:

Heavy-equipment crews finished pulling the wreckage of 30 commercial vehicles and one passenger car out of the tunnel early Sunday, allowing inspectors to go to work to determine the extent of the damage. The scene they found was sobering.

The tunnel was charred and still smoldering, the roadway pocked, the ceiling blistered. The highway's asphalt shoulders resembled a solidified lava flow. Sections of concrete walls had peeled away, exposing steel reinforcement bars, some of which appeared to be askew.

"The structural integrity of the sidewalls has been compromised," Failing said.

Gov. Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency which could make more state aid available.


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