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Demolition work begins on Sunset Blvd. bridge at 405

May 7, 2010 |  4:54 pm


Construction workers have begun preparing for demolition of the Sunset Boulevard bridge over the 405 Freeway, a new phase in a larger effort to widen the freeway through the Westside.

The demolition will begin later this month or in early June, and will take part in two stages, said Marc Lippman, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Crews will begin by tearing down the southern end of the bridge with a “hoe ram” — a crane with a massive jackhammer attached — and will spend 10 months reconstructing it. Then they will demolish the northern stretch of the bridge, followed by 10 more months of rebuilding.

Two lanes in each direction will remain open throughout reconstruction, Lippman said. When work is finished, the new bridge will have eight lanes, compared to its current six, and will be 30 feet wider.

Some area residents and businesses have voiced concern about disruptions the construction may cause the community. Earlier this week, about 200 community members gathered at the Luxe Hotel on Sunset, which is located near the bridge, to share their fears with city officials. 

Lippman said the MTA promised to mitigate noise by putting mufflers on construction equipment and to keep nighttime spotlights directed away from businesses and houses when possible.

Still, he acknowledged that the project may be “disorderly.”

“Obviously this will be disruptive and noisy, and we’re sorry about that,” Lippman said. “There’s short-term pain, but there’s going to be long-term gain.”

The $1-billion freeway widening project will add a 10-mile northbound carpool lane to the stretch of the 405 Freeway between the 10 and 101 freeways. Ramps, overpasses and sound walls also will be improved. Once the Sunset Boulevard bridge reconstruction is finished this fall, construction crews will start work on the bridge at Skirball Center Drive and then move on to the bridge at Mulholland Drive.

To keep people informed of possible street closures related to the construction project, the MTA has established Twitter and Facebook accounts dedicated to the Sunset Boulevard bridge demolition project.

--Kate Linthicum

Map: Metropolitan Transportation Authority