Road, rail access to LA-LB ports fully regained after wildfire disruption

Road, rail access to LA-LB ports fully regained after wildfire disruption

A train is seen with the Blue Cut fire in background at the height of the blaze that disrupted road and rail traffic from the largest U.S. port complex. Credit: @crimeshutterbug

Truck and intermodal rail traffic in Southern California are back to normal after wildfires in San Bernardino County disrupted commercial and vehicular traffic for five days last week. Cargo-handling at the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex had not been impacted by the fire.

The Blue Cut fire, which burned more than 37,000 acres, was 89 percent contained, John Miller, spokesperson for the San Bernardino National Forest, said Monday. “Minimal fire behavior was observed overnight. Crews continue to extinguish hot spots inside the fire perimeter,” he said.

A Union Pacific track that had been closed last week reopened at 10 a.m. Saturday after bridge repair work. “The work crews did a phenomenal job on the bridge,” said UP spokesman Justin Jacobs. The backlog of rail traffic was cleared in less than 48 hours once the bridge reopened, he said.

California Trucking Association spokesman Alex Cherin said member carriers were able to work around the highway and road closures with only minimal problems last week.

Drayage companies in Los Angeles-Long Beach likewise experienced no significant issues because they were able to navigate around the closed areas, said Weston LaBar, executive director of the Harbor Trucking Association. Some HTA members reported equipment dislocations, but those problems were addressed, he said.

Residents in the region east of Los Angeles were returning to their properties. “All evacuation orders have been lifted,” Miller said.

Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at bill.mongelluzzo@ihsmarkit.com and follow him on Twitter: @billmongelluzzo.