Three years of hell on the 405

405projectlogo.jpgThose of us who live in — or pass through — the Westside have been enjoying the past few months since the lane closures, bridge narrowing and persistent backups finally ended on the last carpool lane construction project on the 405. That one lingered five years at least.

Starting Jan. 12, we get to do it all over again — just a little farther north, but with more traffic ramifications. Steve Hymon at The Source has the Caltrans-MTA press release with the schedule for next year's prep work and first wave of ramp closures, but elsewhere on the Metro website are the dirty details that will ruin your commuting day until at least 2013.

Think it only affects the freeway? Ho ho ho. Replacement of major bridges, realignment of on- and off-ramps, "shifting" of Sepulveda Boulevard, relocating a 96-inch water main and full closure of the freeway on some nights are going to wreak the proverbial havoc on street traffic in the area.

The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Widening Project features include:

* Add a 10-mile HOV lane on the northbound I-405 between the I-10 and US-101 freeways

* Remove and replace the Skirball Center, Sunset Blvd. and Mulholland Dr. Bridges

* Realign 27 on and off ramps

* Widen 13 existing underpasses and structures

* Construct approximately 18 miles of retaining wall and sound wall

Early planning documents called for permanent removal of the northbound off-ramp at Montana Avenue, but I can't find a mention of whether that is still happening. That would obviously affect UCLA commuters, as well as Sepulveda and the Westwood Hills neighborhood, in a big way.

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