Talk Back: Is the 405 Freeway work driving you to madness?
All that heavy construction along the Sepulveda Pass is driving lots of people to the edge of madness, and one angry commuter fired off an email Tuesday night to Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.
“You and the rest of the Board of Supervisors have made it impossible to drive from Wilshire Blvd to Mulholland after 8 p.m. on any night,” wrote Linda Rose, adjunct professor and co-director of the Educational Leadership Program at UCLA. “I live off of Mulholland near the 405. How do I get home from work in Westwood at 10 p.m?”
This morning, Yaroslavsky responded: “Dear Ms. Rose: Thanks for your email. You are quite right in pointing out this problem. I got caught in this mess Monday night, myself, and I had the same reaction. One way to get up to Mulholland is via Sepulveda, Roscomare or other canyon roads. That’s the way I finally got up there the other night. However, the closure of the Mulholland off-ramp on the northbound 405 came as quite a surprise to me, and it is creating a problem for commuters. I have asked the project management team to review this state of affairs immediately in the hope that it can be addressed. Thanks for bringing this matter to my attention. I’m on it.”
Rose thanked Yaroslavsky for his quick response, then added her own: “I already take Sepulveda, Roscomare and Beverly Glen -- depending on the time of day or evening -- but note according to the current construction schedule, the Mulholland Bridge closes at 8 p.m. -- this means that there is no way to then cross over the freeway to the other side of Mulholland. It’s a shame that no one has considered the many unintended and negative consequences of working very, very slowly on three bridges, the 405, 405 on- and off-ramps, Sepulveda, Church Lane and Mulholland at the same time for several years and then speeding up all of them up at the same time. Why put three bridges out of action at the same time?”
Rose added: “Newly built walls along Sepulveda and the freeway were constructed -- and quickly disintegrated but according to the report (online) put out by the project this was not investigated.”
[Updated at 4:15 p.m.: Yaroslavsky spokesman Joel Bellman responds:
1) Here's a link on the Metro Web site that's updated daily with important closure information to help motorists better plan their routes and scheduling: www.metro.net/I-405. Metro also tweets out a daily Twitter feed, updates its Facebook page and sends alerts through Nixle.
2) Our staff looked into it after Zev received the constituent email. We were told that Mulholland Bridge has been closed in the evening for over a month, while the Skirball off-ramp has been closed intermittently while they work on the bridge.
On the night in question, the Sunset and Skirball off-ramps were closed, but the Montana, Moraga and Getty ramps were open. A changeable message sign (CMS) for motorists heading for the northbound Skirball off-ramp after Moraga and before Getty was alerting drivers to the Skirball closure -- in addition to the regular Caltrans orange signs.
It's Metro policy that there is never a closure of two consecutive ramps, and that was true on Monday night. So for example, if the Skirball off-ramp is closed, the ramps before and after it will be open. The same applies to Wilshire Boulevard - the ramps before and after will be open.]
And the nightmare is far from over. I’m surprised people aren’t suffering breakdowns every time they check the road closure listings. Some people have commutes shorter than the list of road closures. Care to add your complaints, observations and suggestions? If it’ll give you any relief, feel free to vent, here and now.
-- Steve Lopez
Photo: The 405 freeway just outside the fence of the Los Angeles National Cemetery. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times