Discovery of several hazardous objects, on a weekend when the federal government is warning police about terrorism, forced the closure of Route 163 between Balboa Park and Mission Valley on Saturday.
San Diego Fire-Rescue dispatchers said their bomb squad was rolling to an undisclosed location on the freeway, north of University Avenue and south of Friars Road. That stretch of Highway 163 includes its interchange with Interstate 8.
The CHP shut down Route 163 in both directions from Friars Road to University Avenue, including the interchange with I-8 in Mission Valley. At around 3:15 p.m. the freeway was once again opened to all traffic.
San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Lee Swanson said he did not know what the objects found were, but “it wasn’t anything dangerous.”
The objects were later identified as mortars.
The scare comes as federal anti-terrorism agencies have warned local police agencies of possible terrorist acts around the July 4 holiday.
In a joint bulletin, the FBI, the National Counterterrorism Center and the Department of Homeland Security did not warn of any known active plot, but did warn that extremists could launch attacks tied to Independence Day or in reaction to perceived defamation of the Prophet Mohammed.
“We are encouraging all law enforcement to be vigilant and prepared,” the statement read, in part. “We will also adjust security measures, seen and unseen, as necessary to protect the American people.”
— City News Service contributed to this report.
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