Jul 27, 2014

Section of San Diego Freeway to Close for a Weekend

Bridge work to close stretch of 405 Freeway in both directions through Sepulveda Pass during weekend in mid-July.

Section of San Diego Freeway to Close for a Weekend

Starting just after midnight July 15, the San Diego (405) Freeway will be shut down in both directions from Getty Center Drive to the 101 Freeway for 53 hours, so that the south side of the Mulholland Bridge can be demolished.

The freeway section is expected to reopen at 5 a.m. July 18, according to Metro officials.

An estimated half-million cars, trucks and buses use this freeway on a typical summer weekend. The closure is part of the ongoing freeway-widening project, which will create a 10-mile northbound carpool lane on the 405  between the Westside and the San Fernando Valley.

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky's website refers to this planned shutdown as a "midsummer night's nightmare for motorists heading to LAX, the beach, or other destinations."

"But, with enough planning and advance notice, Metro officials say the worst can be averted," Yaroslavsky's website says.

“This is manageable as long as the public cooperates. They’ve got a lot of summer plans and we don’t want them to be surprised,” said county Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Marc Littman. “If you can stay home, great. If you don’t have to drive, great. And if you do have to get behind the wheel, follow the officially marked detours, which by that point will have been widely publicized."

Metro reportedly is preparing a media campaign to alert the public about the closure. The shutdown is the biggest planned freeway closure in California since the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge was closed for installation of a detour structure two years ago.

"I think this is bigger than anything in memory,'' Littman told Yaroslavsky's office.

The Mulholland Bridge is one of three bridges being demolished and rebuilt during the project. Demolition work on the Sunset and Skirball bridges took place over a series of nights, and was managed without such a lengthy closure of the entire freeway. In the case of the Mulholland Bridge, officials say its steepness makes the weekend-long closure necessary to protect passing motorists.

In addition to the 10-mile carpool lane and the modernized bridges, the $1-billion project also is widening underpasses, building 18 miles of sound and retaining walls, and creating new or improved ramps, including new “flyover” ramps at Wilshire Boulevard.

“There’s short-term pain, but long-term gain,” Littman said.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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