Carmageddon ends: 405 Freeway reopens to traffic [Updated]
Officials began removing the barriers blocking the onramps to the freeway around noon.
[Updated at 12:05 p.m.: Officials began allowing southbound traffic to flow, followed a few minutes later by northbound traffic. The move came after officials drove the closed portion of the freeway to look for any debris. They first opened the freeway's exit ramps, then the entrance ramps.]
The weekend demolition of half of the Mulholland Drive bridge spanning the 405, dubbed Carmageddon, cost an estimated $3 million, according to Mike Barbour, project director of the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Widening Project. The contractors will receive extra pay for getting the job done early.
“We worked with the contractor to build in some incentives to get it done early,” Barbour said. He would not quantify the extra pay except to say it “isn’t a large number.”
“By us opening early, that far outweighs any money spent” on incentives, he said.
The 405 was shut down at midnight Friday night between the 101 and 10 freeways, as workers demolished the southern half of the bridge, which spans the freeway. That 10-mile stretch of the 405 carries roughly 500,000 vehicles on a normal July weekend.
The demolition is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project that includes adding a northbound carpool lane. After the new lanes are finished to replace those being demolished now, the freeway will be shut down again in 11 months as crews take down the other half of the bridge.
Contractors working on the 405 Freeway project face penalties of $6,000 for every 10 minutes they run over the allotted time for completion — which is 53 hours. The fines apply separately for each side of the freeway, meaning that amount would double if both the southbound and northbound lanes remain closed.
-- Ari B. Bloomekatz, Robert Faturechi and Bob Pool
Photo: California Highway Patrol cruisers and motorcycles lead the first motorists down the southbound lanes of the reopened 405 Freeway under the Mulholland Drive bridge. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times