Updated as of 12:15 a.m. Monday
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Construction during “Carmageddon II,” the shutdown of 10 miles of the 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass, finished ahead of schedule Sunday, allowing crews to reopen all lanes before midnight.
Drivers were allowed back on the northbound side of the freeway around 8:30 p.m. and the southbound side was reopened at approximately 11:45 p.m.
Just a few hours earlier, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa gave no indication that the freeway would reopen before 5 a.m. Monday, which was the city-issued project deadline. During a news conference, the mayor said crews were on schedule, the project was a success and thanked drivers for staying off the road.
Patrick Chandler of Caltrans said crews used the closure as an opportunity to repair potholes, trim trees and repaint lane dividers.
“Once this project is done, well hopefully, eventually, we’re going to have a 48-mile-long HOV lane from the Valley all the way down to Orange County. So, this will help to add more HOV lanes to the LA County area,” Chandler said.
Crews began closing on-ramps in the Sepulveda Pass at 7 p.m. Friday and had all lanes shut down by midnight, Metro officials said.
The northbound 405, between the 10 and the 101 freeways, was completely shut down while the southbound side was closed from Burbank Boulevard, north of the 101, down to the Getty Center Drive on-ramp.
For the most part, Angelenos steered clear of the area over the weekend. Seven people reportedly let themselves through the barricades into the closed sections of the 405 and were cited by the California Highway Patrol.
Of those cited, KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO reported that two were newlyweds. The couple allegedly tried to enter the freeway on the southbound 405 Freeway Sunset Boulevard on-ramp.
City leaders urged Southland residents to eat, shop and plan their activities locally.
The closure was part of the $1-billion Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project.
The project revitalized the Mulholland Bridge, added a 10-mile northbound carpool lane and allowed for other upgrades to the most-heavily traveled freeway in the nation.
Officials first shut down the 405 Freeway in July 2011 during the original “Carmageddon,” where crews demolished the south half of the Mulholland Bridge.
Demolition was completed in 17 hours, however officials said this weekend’s project required demolishing the north side of the bridge and 30 percent more work so it wasn’t expected to open early.
“This time around we’ve got a third more bridge to demolish, so it will take all of the time, this time. And, at least, we don’t anticipate finishing early,” Kiewit spokesperson Dan Kulka said.
If contractors had failed to complete the project on time, they would have been penalized for every 10 minutes the work went over.
“The penalty is $6,000 per lane of freeway, per 10 minutes. Let’s assume the entire freeway isn’t reopened, that’s $60,000 every 10 minutes,” Sotero said.