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Los Angeles Drivers Navigate Alternate Routes as I-10 Shuts Down due to Fire Damage

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In a city of sprawl, the 10 freeway is a main character, running across the belly of Los Angeles and offering a straight shot from downtown to the Pacific Ocean — with a hazy glimpse of the Hollywood sign along the way.

It also serves as a central artery for commuters making their way to and from the San Gabriel Valley, a constellation of cities with more than 1.5 million residents east of Los Angeles. During rush hour (and sometimes any random hour), it is where drivers sit bumper to bumper, restlessly inching forward.

The recent fire that shut down a nearly two-mile stretch of the freeway created what would seem to be a disaster for a city already swamped with traffic troubles. Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency. Mayor Karen Bass urged residents to stay home. And the kicker: it will be weeks before the affected stretch of Interstate 10 can reopen again.

Yet for many residents, the repercussions have felt less catastrophic and more like just another Los Angeles annoyance. The closure creates personal and employment difficulties, for sure. But there is a sense that, if you are accustomed to driving in Los Angeles, you have already honed the skills you need for this moment: mustering some sort of patience, maneuvering on side streets and alternate routes, padding your estimated drive time.

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