LOS ANGELES (CBS) — In what may go down as “a midsummer weekend’s nightmare,” one of the three freeways connecting the two halves of Los Angeles will be closed for an entire weekend — 53 hours — in mid-July, it was announced Saturday.
The entire San Diego (405) Freeway will be shut down between the San Fernando Valley and the Westside beginning just after midnight on a Friday night-Saturday morning, the night starting July 15. It will not reopen until 5 a.m. the following Monday, July 18, officials said.
A half million cars, trucks and buses will have to be detoured or convinced not to traverse the mountains separating L.A. and “The Valley.” Builders plan a news conference on May 23 to kick off an advertising and P.R. campaign to get the word out, county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said on his web page.
“This is manageable as long as the public cooperates,” said Metro spokesman Marc Littman, quoted in Yaroslavsky’s release. “They’ve got a lot of summer plans and we don’t want them surprised.”
While some 405 lane closures will begin before midnight on the night of Friday, July 15, all lanes of the freeway will be closed just after midnight that Saturday morning, July 16. The closures will end at 5 a.m. Monday, July 18.
The 405 has already been blocked off for eight overnight hours at a time to allow other bridge work, with Caltrans diverting all southbound traffic onto the 101 in Sherman Oaks. Northbound ramps have been closed at the 10 interchange in West L.A.
During the looming weekend closure, half of the towering Mulholland Drive overpass at the top of the hill will be torn out. Mulholland traffic will use the other, remaining half of the overpass until a replacement structure is finished, and another weekend-long demolition closure is imposed next summer.
Metro is spending $1 billion on the 405 widening project between the Hollywood (101) and Santa Monica (405) freeways, an effort that will add a northbound carpool lanes and radically remodel the 50-year-old freeway’s bridges and ramps. The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project will also add a 10-mile HOV lane, remove and replace Skirball Center Dr., Sunset Blvd. and Mulholland Dr. bridges, realign 27 on and off ramps, widen 13 existing underpasses and structures and construct 18 miles of retaining and sound walls.
The closure will apparently be 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.
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