Carmageddon II: Work continues on schedule; 405 set to reopen Monday
By sunrise Sunday construction crews working on the 405 Freeway widening project were back on schedule after suffering a glitch when a large chunk of concrete fell unexpectedly during demolition of a section of the Mulholland Bridge, forcing a work slowdown.
Officials said the large section of concrete was demolished overnight, along with two pillars from the bridge, and that a 10-mile section of the freeway that is closed this weekend for the demolition work is expected to open at 5 a.m. Monday as planned.
The bridge demolition work is part of a $1 billion freeway widening project that will add a new carpool lane to the 405 Freeway.
After a quick assessment of Saturday's incident, engineers determined that the bridge demolition could go forward.
“This is not cause for concern,” officials said in a statement about the unexpected collapse. “It did not damage the newly constructed portion of the bridge nor should it cause any delays.”
Meanwhile, stretches of some of the Los Angeles’ busiest Westside and downtown streets will be closed Sunday to accommodate about 2,500 participants in the HerbalLife Triathlon Los Angeles, which begins in Venice Beach at 7:15 a.m.
The closure of parts of Venice Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue could add to congestion on the Westside because of the temporary shutdown of the 405 Freeway. Venice Boulevard will likely reopen about 10 a.m.
At sunrise, more than a hundred people were milling around the starting point of the triathlon. Samia Karimi, 38, and her daughter, Sophia, 5, came out to see Karimi’s boyfriend, Andrew Kwan, participate in the event.
Karimi said she drove to Los Angeles from her home in Simi Valley about 8 p.m. Friday, avoiding the 405 Freeway.
"There's always PCH," she said, referring to Pacific Coast Highway.
What's tougher, dealing with the 405 at rush hour or a triathlon?
"405. Definitely," said B.J. Wickett, 34, who is competing in his 9th triathlon.
From the time the race begins until about 12:15 p.m., workers will close a portion of Olympic Boulevard as athletes make their way downtown.
The final two closures will occur on Olympic Boulevard from Cherry to Figueroa Street, and on Grand Avenue from 11th Street to 1st Street, officials said. The triathletes will end the competition at L.A. Live, and downtown streets should be reopened no later than noon.
City transportation officials have warned that people driving toward the triathlon course Sunday morning can expect detours. They suggest people take shuttles or use Washington, Olympic or Pico boulevards or the 10 Freeway. For those heading north or south, they recommend Sepulveda Boulevard or Lincoln Boulevard or Centinela Avenue.
Residents and visitors parked along the triathlon route should watch for temporary "no parking" signs to avoid citations and tows. Police and traffic officers will be on hand to keep vehicles from crossing the course.
-Ari Bloomkatz and Joseph Serna