It's been real quiet across the Westside with no 405 freeway spewing white noise for miles around. That, and the lack of traffic intensity pretty much everywhere, is something residents could get used to. Alas, officials plan to start opening the freeway within hours. The demolition work on the Mulholland Drive bridge has gone smoothly, and Mayor Villaraigosa will be having a 10:30 press conference up at the bridge to declare success. It doesn't surprise me that the contractor and Metro built in a lot of padding to ensure the bridge demo was finished in time, but it will be kind of sad to see the 405 turn back into a slow-moving river of cars and noise and lung pollution.
* 12:15 p.m. update: The 405 has reopened. The invasion of the Westside is on again.
On Saturday, columnist Bill Boyarsky spoke with Villaraigosa about the jobs aspect of the 405 widening project.
Here's a time lapse view of the freeway demolition from the Wall Street Journal:
After the jump: Villaraigosa's statement on Sunday's early opening.
I would like to thank the people of Los Angeles for doing their part to ensure this weekend went as smooth as possible. This weekend, we proved that our city needs more options than the single passenger automobile. When the closing of a short stretch of freeway causes worldwide attention, we need to make a change and provide Angelenos the 21st Century transit system they deserve.
The good news is we are working on it. With the support of Los Angeles voters, we passed Measure R to create local jobs by doubling the miles of rail, building 1600 miles of bike paths and improving our bus system. This week I will go to Washington D.C. to ask the US Senate for innovative financing tools so we can complete these transit projects faster.
The early re-opening of the 405 is a testament to the hard work of the engineers, construction workers, law enforcement personnel, and all Angelenos who worked together to ensure that this weekend's closure was effective and smooth. It is a true reflection of what we as a City can achieve when we work together.
I would like to specifically acknowledge the teams from Kiewet, the general contractor of this project, and Penhall, the company responsible for the demolition work, for their great work. They, along with Metro and CalTrans, had a difficult job to do in a very short time frame, and not only did they do their job and finish the project, they surpassed expectations and completed the work early.