It’s known that Southern California is home to some of the most congested freeways in the nation. Los Angeles commuters who travel on or near the I-405 may soon feel the pain felt by Chinese commuters in what may have been one of the world’s worst traffic jams.
The I-405 has been undergoing a major improvement project for quite some time, and the next step in the project includes demolition work on the Mulholland Bridge in the Sepulveda Pass. The Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project plan calls for construction crews to build a newer and wider bridge, completed in two phases. The southern side of the bridge will be demolished first, then reconstructed. The freeway will again be shut down one year later to do the same to the north side of the bridge.
The northbound I-405 between the I-10 and U.S.101 (10-mile closure), and the southbound I- 405 between the U.S. 101 and Getty Center Drive Ramps (4-mile closure) will begin the shut down process at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 15, starting with the ramps along the 10-mile stretch. Closure of the freeway lanes will start at 10 p.m., with full closure scheduled for midnight. The freeway will reopen at 5 a.m. on Monday, July 18, with ramps and connectors opening back up at 6 a.m.
Traffic conditions on local streets and freeways within the region of Los Angeles County and beyond are expected to be severe, with significant, multi-hour delays.
You may remember hearing about the infamous Chinese traffic jam, resulting in a 60-mile backup that lasted at least 10 days. The 405 closure may see conditions similar to it (ok, maybe not 10 days), but the impact can be minimized if commuters follow some simple guidelines.
Plan Ahead: Those who must travel in the area on those days are urged to use alternate routes. Combinations of the 5, 10, 101, 110 and 710 freeways, Route 27 and the Pacific Coast Highway can make for good alternatives in addition to a few local canyon roads, but be sure to plan your route. Other good alternatives include the Metro Rail that services most of L.A. County (unfortunately, no service in west L.A.- closest stop is near Los Angeles International Airport), and the Metrolink services the five Southern California counties. Sepulveda Boulevard is not a good idea—it’s intended for local residents only. It does not have the capacity to accommodate high volumes of local and diverted traffic. More information on alternate routes can be found on www.metro.net/405.
Avoid the Area or Stay Home: It’s as simple as that. If there is no need to travel, don’t. If you do intend to drive somewhere, stay away from the west side. Far away.
This closure is anticipated to be worse than when President Obama visited SoCal. Street and freeway closures caused massive traffic chaos. The second time he visited proved to be more carefully thought out, making L.A. commuters a little bit happier. Since this is just the first phase of the closure, motorists don't know what to expect. If this plan goes awry, a better plan will hopefully be executed next year.
Source: Los Angeles Police Department-North Hollywood