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Ahead of schedule, 405 Freeway to fully reopen by sunrise Sunday

March 2, 2013 | 10:50 pm

The northbound 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass could fully reopen by Sunday at 5 a.m., a full 24 hours ahead of schedule, as crews finished repaving work more quickly than anticipated.

The warmer weather Saturday -- Los Angeles International Airport hit a high of 82, a record for the date --  allowed construction crews to begin laying new pavement as soon as they finished grinding up the old roadway. The contractor also doubled up on the grinding work overnight, said Dave Sotero, spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The 405 is the only highway that connects the Westside directly to the San Fernando Valley through the Santa Monica Mountains. At one point, it was taking motorists an hour to get from Venice Boulevard to Getty Center Drive, a distance of about 6 miles, Sotero said.

By 8:30 p.m., officials had opened a third lane on the northbound 405, and later they said they would not need to fully close the northbound five-lane freeway overnight, as they had originally planned for the next two nights.

The roadwork, covering a 2.4 -mile stretch between the Montana Avenue entrance ramp and the Getty Center Drive exit ramp, is part of work to add a carpool lane on the northbound 405 through the Sepulveda Pass, one of the nation's busiest freeways.

In addition to laying down more pavement to accommodate a wider freeway, crews restriped the freeway and moved the concrete rails. "This part of the 405 is shifting 30 feet to the west. That's going to create the room for us to create the extra lane of traffic," Sotero said.

Crews are about two-thirds done with the project.

The lane closures began Friday night, and all northbound lanes were fully shut overnight. For most of Saturday, only two of the five northbound lanes were open, causing  a massive headache for Los Angeles' traffic-choked Westside, causing jams for miles and spilling onto surface streets.

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-- Rong-Gong Lin II

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