California’s department of transportation has awarded an emergency contract to Flatiron Construction to demolish the Paramount Blvd. overpass above State Route 60 (the Pomona Freeway) in Montebello following a gasoline tanker truck explosion and fire Dec. 14 underneath the bridge that severely damaged its structural integrity.

The freeway was closed to traffic through 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, while portions of the overpass were demolished, according to Caltrans spokeswoman Kelly Markham. Markham said that the freeway was also closed overnight on Monday, Dec. 19, to finish the demolition.

Caltrans said the reopening was delayed when its and Flatiron’s crews discovered Southern California Edison phone and fiber-optic lines encased in asbestos buried under the sidewalk on the bridge.

Plans for a replacement overcrossing are beginning, Markham said, and may take “at least a month.”

“There are a lot of unknowns at this time,” Markham said, including how much the Flatiron contract is worth, any incentives Caltrans may offer the contractor and who will ultimately pay for the work. The California Highway Patrol is investigating the accident involving the 9,000-gallon tanker truck owned by Cool Transports, Paramount, Calif. The site is about 12 mi east of downtown Los Angeles. CHP officers reported that the truck burned up to 2,000 degrees for at least two hours.