As for the tunnel, where that fiery chain reaction killed three people, repair work is expected to take a couple of weeks, though at this point the Caltrans folks are probably just guesstimating. Reporters were shown the northern end of the tunnel, which was smoky and blackened with soot. It's still quite a mess - and commutes in the area are likely to be rough for a while. I-5, of course, is a very big deal for the California economy, serving as the state's major transportation artery for trucks carrying goods from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Somehow the stuff will get through – as happened a few years back when the 101 was blocked off because of that terrible mudslide in La Conchita. Still, these kinds of incidents will no doubt raise - once again - the precarious state of the state's infrastructure. It doesn’t take much to have a real problem on your hands.
Ironically, U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced that the I-5 was one of six interstate routes selected as a "Corridor of the Future." The idea is to reduce traffic congestion within the corridors by building new roads, adding lanes to existing roads, installing truck-only lanes and bypasses, and using traffic technology like lane management. Right - the feds are forking over a whopping $15 million in development funds, which means this thing is at the very first rung of government commitment. Don't hold your breath. The weekend crash was caused by a dangerous, outdated tunnel, but the real problem is too many very large trucks trying to make too many deliveries in too short an amount of time (remember, a lot of these drivers are independent truckers who get paid by the load). Here's a Sunday afternoon LAT story and here's a press release outling the federal program.