Audit: Caltrans Ignored Red Flags Before Freeway Fire

A lax inspection schedule contributed to the hazardous conditions that led to the massive blaze that shut down Interstate 10 in Los Angeles last year.

1 minute read

June 10, 2024, 11:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Aerial view of massive Los Angeles freeway interchange.

Tierney / Adobe Stock

Lax enforcement of inspections of storage lots located under freeways contributed to the fire that damaged part of Interstate 10 near downtown Los Angeles last year, a state audit found.

According to an Associated Press article, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) only conducted five inspections of lots under Interstate 10 in 15 years.

The audit reveals that Caltrans failed to document those inspections and could have done more to make the properties safer. The lot where the fire occurred was being used for storing flammable materials including solvents and oils and being illegally subleased.

The report points out “previous warning signs” that should have raised red flags for Caltrans, including a 2022 fire not far from last year’s blaze site. The audit recommends regular inspections, better training for staff, and a streamlined process for determining and taking legal action.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024 in Spectrum News 1

Single-family homes in a suburban neighborhood in Florida.

New Florida Law Curbs HOA Power

The legislation seeks to cut down on ‘absurd’ citations for low-level violations.

June 16, 2024 - The Guardian

Three colorful, large beachfront homes, one khaki, one blue, and one yellow, with a small dune in front and flat sand in foreground.

Florida Homeowners 'Nope Out' of Beach Restoration Over Public Access

The U.S. Corps of Engineers and Redington Shores, Florida are at a standstill: The Corps won’t spend public money to restore private beaches, and homeowners are refusing to grant public access to the beaches behind their home in return for federal assistance.

June 7, 2024 - Grist

Multistory apartment building under construction.

New Tennessee Law Allows No-Cost Incentives for Affordable Housing

Local governments in the Volunteer State can now offer developers incentives like increased density, lower parking requirements, and priority permitting for affordable housing projects.

June 10, 2024 - Nooga Today

Green meadow with water running through and trees on either side in Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite Meadow Undergoing Major Restoration

Rangeland recently acquired from private owners is being restored to a more natural state thanks to a purchase by the Trust for Public Land.

June 17 - San Francisco Chronicle

Large black SYV driving down city street with blurred background.

GAO to Investigate How Vehicle Design Impacts Safety

A lax set of rules around vehicle size, height, and other factors is partly responsible for the alarming rise in pedestrian deaths in the United States.

June 17 - Streetsblog USA

Worker in yellow safety suit holding up orange SLOW sign on road

New Orleans Faces $1 Billion Shortfall for FEMA-Funded Roadwork

After years of delays, cost overruns, and deadline extensions on a FEMA-funded street repair program, New Orleans officials face a massive funding shortfall and accusations of mismanagement.

June 17 - NOLA.com

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.