The 405 Jamzilla rampaged across the Westside today, causing a large number of brake lights on a different freeway.
Ramps onto the northbound San Diego (405) Freeway were closed from either direction of the Santa Monica (10) Freeway in West Los Angeles today, prompting some delay as unexpecting motorists swerved or braked in confusion, as observed by reporters.
Six miles to the north, the closure of three of the five northbound lanes of the 405 Freeway backed up traffic to Wilshire Boulevard—about two miles. Between the 10 Freeway and Wilshire Boulevard, both directions of the 405 were flowing freely and were lightly travelled.
The 80-hour repaving operation in the Sepulveda Pass caused all northbound lanes to be closed at 1 a.m. today, and two lanes reopened on schedule just after sunrise. Similar closures were scheduled for the next three early mornings:
- 2 to 7 a.m. Sunday
- midnight to 5 a.m. Monday
- midnight to 5 a.m. Tuesday.
The full freeway should reopen at 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Officials with Metro, which is overseeing the $1 billion San Diego Freeway construction project in the Sepulveda Pass, warned that if people don't avoid the area during the closures, local streets and other freeways could become severely congested.
The closures and lane restrictions will accommodate what Metro calls a complex paving operation in the 5.6-mile stretch, with the contractor, Kiewit Infrastructure West, spreading uniform layers of pavement each time.
Metro officials compared the operation to baking layers of a wedding cake -- a far more delicate task than the bridge demolition that prompted the "Carmageddon" full-freeway closures.
"Operationally speaking, demolishing a bridge is a much simpler operation than paving and striping freeway lanes that must return to public use as quickly as possible," said K.N. Murthy, executive director of transit project delivery at Metro.
"It's the essential difference between destroying a structure and building a structure. Building something is much more difficult, and the paving methods we are using vary between each material type and have specific requirements that must be adhered to."
In addition to the paving, crews will also shift the centerline of the freeway 20 feet to the west for about 1,000 feet, in the area where the San Diego Freeway winds down into the San Fernando Valley. That section of pavement is badly cracked, and will become the roadbed for the new pavement.
Motorists can also access a Jamzilla hotline by calling 5-1-1 and saying "Jamzilla" or by visiting go511.com .—City News Service