As Northeast Los Angeles residents have probably read on lighted signs while driving along the Arroyo Seco Parkway in recent weeks, the I-405 will undergo 10-mile closure between routes 10 and 101 on the weekend of July 16-17.
In advance of the 53 hour closure, which is set to begin no earlier than 7 p.m. on Friday July 15, and should be completed by 5 a.m. on Monday, July 18, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority is encouraging motorists to "plan ahead, avoid the area or stay home."
The specific boundaries of the closure are the 10 miles between the I-10 and U.S. 101 on the Northbound I-405 and the 4 miles between the U.S. 101 and the Getty Center Drive Ramps on the Southbound I-405.
Northeast Los Angeles residents who need to drive to the west side of the city are encouraged to use public transportation, as such no fares will be charged on the Metro Red, Purple & Orange lines during the weekend.
However, despite the fact that heavy spillover traffic is expected on the 101 and 110, with major delays from Highland Park to Downtown anticipated, normal Gold Line fares will still be enforced.
The impending demolition of the south side of the the Mulholland Bridge is the first part of a two-phase, $1 billion Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project. The demolition of the south side of the bridge will be followed by one year of construction of a widened bridged and major carpool lane, according to Metro. The north side of the bridge will undergo the same process at this time next year.
On Monday afternoon, Doug Failing, Metro Executive Director of Highway Programs, and Krishniah Murthy, Metro Executive Director of Transit Project Delivery, participated in an hour-long live chat about the impending closure.
The chat covered a wide range of topics, from how residents would be able access emergency services during the construction, to how the closure would effect traffic for residents beyond the west side, to how motorists could expect to reasonably travel to Los Angeles International Airport.
Here are some excerpts from the chat.
How will motorists on the Eastside be affected? Will trips along the Arroyo Seco Parkway to Downtown be affected by spillover traffic?
Doug Failing: Yes, spillover traffic will be felt region-wide. We are encouraging people through greater LA area to shop locally, get to know your neighborhood. Like during the Northridge earthquake and the I-5 tunnel fire, we need to come together as a region and do our part.
Why did you choose to close the 405 just when tens of thousands of people would want to head to the beach in the middle of July? What are such folks supposed to do if they still want to get to the beach without going crazy?
DF: We are communicating early so that people who want to go to the beach can plan ahead or go a different weekend. This first closure is during the summer. And although there is a bit more traffic during the summer, these trips are also discretionary and there is flexibility in these trips. We also coordinated with the local schools along the Mulholland Corridor and to reduce the congestion it was well timed to schedule during summer vacation.
In your 30 years with Caltrans, have you ever seen a freeway closure as daunting as this one?
DF: Yes. Following the Northridge earthquake, when I was with Caltrans, I worked on the I-10, Newhall Pass Interchange, the State Route 14 and I-5 closures. Among the most daunting was the I-5 tunnel fire closure in 2007. A truck speeding in heavy rain lost control and went sideways on a connector road creating a chain reaction that involved 15 big rigs and cars, resulting in a fire inside a tunnel underneath the I-5 and shutting down the I-5 for a very long, very intense weekend. Traffic was backed up for hours. All of these were challenges, both from an engineering and a traffic standpoint. But with the public's cooperation we get through them. And that's what we need to have happen with the 405 closure.
Will I be able to get from LAX to Pasadena without trouble?
DF: No. The LAX website (www.lawa.org/405) is advising arriving passengers to take shared-ride transit to their destinations, rather than having friends pick them up at the airport. The LAX website has links to more than a half dozen public transit options. By picking up the free shuttle to the Metro Green Line, to the Blue Line, to the Red/Purple Line, to the Gold Line to Pasadena you can really experience the greater share of our transit system in one trip and impress your friends. Buy the Day Pass. It will be cheaper for you.