Westside ramping up for traffic jam on 405 Freeway
Starting at 10 p.m. Friday, workers will close some entry and exit points between the nation's most congested freeway and one of L.A.'s busiest boulevards in a project to add a 10-mile carpool lane through the Sepulveda Pass on the 405 Freeway.
One official is calling it Ramp Jam.
The westbound Wilshire entrance to the northbound 405 and the northbound 405 exit to westbound Wilshire will remain closed for three months, the first phase of a yearlong effort to demolish and rebuild all eight ramps at the interchange.
The ramps will be closed in succession, for periods of two weeks to three months each. The new ramps will be designed to reduce traffic backups and dangerous lane-weaving. The work will affect tens of thousands of daily commuters, who will be forced to find alternate routes to and from their Westside destinations.
"It's going to be a huge pain," said Steven Lutsky, who lives in Westwood and works an early shift at a TV studio in Studio City. "Getting home is probably going to be a serious hassle."
Late this summer, Metro plans Carmageddon 2, another weekend-long closure of the 405 in both directions to finish the bridge demolition begun in the first phase of the project.
Area residents anticipate the ramp closures will dump traffic onto already packed routes such as Sepulveda, Santa Monica and Sunset boulevards.
On Thursday night, workers will restripe and reconfigure key streets in the area. Sepulveda Boulevard between Wilshire and Montana Avenue will be closed overnight, as will two lanes in each direction of eastbound and westbound Wilshire between Veteran and Federal avenues. Other street closures are planned.
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation will try to alleviate some of the pain by installing electronic road signs a mile before the closure area to give motorists time to divert, and it will station traffic officers at key intersections.
-- Martha Groves
Photo: Disruptions from shutdowns, bridge reconstructions and detours on the 405 Freeway have caused headaches for years. Credit: Reed Saxon / Associated Press