Wilshire Boulevard ramps to close soon in 405 Freeway project
First, Carmageddon. Now, the "Rampture"?
The mammoth construction project to add a 10-mile carpool lane through the Sepulveda Pass on the 405 Freeway is continuing with another round of closures. This time, they involve some of the busiest on- and off-ramps in the region.
On Friday, transportation and other officials will announce the oft-postponed closure dates for key Wilshire Boulevard ramps. Earlier this year, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority floated mid-May as a possibility, but Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky urged the agency in a letter to postpone until public schools close June 20.
All eight ramps must be demolished and rebuilt by 2013. They will be closed in phases for periods of two weeks to three months each.
The first two ramps slated for closure are the westbound Wilshire on-ramp to the northbound 405 and the northbound 405 off-ramp to westbound Wilshire.
One reason for the delay has been utility line work on Sepulveda Boulevard, which will be a key detour route during the ramp construction period. Metro officials project that completing the ramp work in phases will take 21 months.
"Nowhere is improvement needed more than at the Wilshire Boulevard/I-405 interchange," Metro says on its website. Indeed, the ramps at rush hour resemble a bowl of tangled noodles, with drivers attempting to enter the freeway weaving around exiting motorists.
At a Friday morning news conference at the southeast corner of Sepulveda and Wilshire boulevards, Yaroslavsky, Metro project director Michael Barbour and others plan to admonish the public to "plan ahead, adjust travel times or share the ride" during the construction.
Residents are leery.
"People have said they're going to go out of town ... or just won't travel that far from home," said Cori Solomon, president of the Brentwood Glen Assn., a homeowners group. "What the community is concerned about is access ... getting up Sepulveda during peak hours and traveling Sunset."
When it first starts, "it will probably be a nightmare," she added.
For renderings of the new ramp configurations and other information, see the Metro website.
-- Martha Groves