LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Transportation officials Wednesday sought to downplay the findings of a report that calls into question just how effective a $1.1 billion project on the 405 Freeway has been in reducing traffic congestion.

KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports an analysis of the 405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements project found average travel times during rush hour between the northbound 405 and the 10 and the 101 freeways has actually gone up since construction began.

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In the survey conducted by Seattle-based traffic analytics firm INRIX in Sept. 2013 and Sept. 2014, analysts found an average travel time of 34 minutes for drivers along the 10-mile corridor route through the Sepulveda Pass, compared with an average time of 36 minutes in Sept. 2014.

Drive times reached their highest point at 5 p.m. in September of both 2013 and 2014, topping out with a 43-minute travel time during the week of Sept. 15-19, 2014.

INRIX spokesman Jim Bak said the findings indicate that traffic benefits from more HOV lanes are still not enough to lure solo drivers.

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“Simply put, L.A. drivers are not incented (sic) from an economic perspective to change their habits and thus continue to drive alone in enough numbers that those who are using the HOV are not having any affect on travel times in the general purpose lanes,” Bak said.

But Metro Transit Authority Spokesman Dave Sotero said the recent completion of the last carpool link between Orange County and the Valley will significantly reduce the duration of congestion going forward.

“What we have done is added, importantly, capacity,” he said. “It gets motorists that are carpooling and vanpooling and using public transit a new option to get through the Pass more quickly.”

Faster-moving traffic coupled with on- and off-ramp improvements and earthquake upgrades of three critical bridges will be producing benefits for decades to come, Sotero added.

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More than 300,000 vehicle travel through the Sepulveda Pass daily, making the 405 the nation’s busiest freeway.