Sometime this summer, the 405 freeway in Sepulveda Pass will close for another weekend of quiet and relative bliss on the Westside. Then it will be over, like last summer's faux Carmageddon. But in June, the rebuilding of the Wilshire Boulevard on- and off-ramps will begin a year-long traffic disruption in one of the nation's congested spots that will be so majorly disruptive it's being called The Rampture.
We've been warning you this was coming. In case you were hoping it would just go away, it didn't. Once done more than a year from now, the new Wilshire Boulevard flyover ramps will probably do more to ease traffic flow on the west side of Los Angeles than anything else could (short of a Great Depression.) The messy clash of competing interests that clogs up the area each day — cars jockeying to get on and off the freeway, traffic backing up into the cities of Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, commuters trying to leave UCLA and Westwood's high-rises — will be cleaned up so the cars getting on the freeway never have to see those getting off.
But to get there will require 90-day closures of each of eight heavily used ramps — and freeway crews working feverish 24-hour, 7-day calendars to rush things to completion.
It begins on June 22, timed to follow the final UCLA graduation ceremony of the spring, Metro's I-405 crew will close the northbound 405 entry ramp from westbound Wilshire. On most afternoons, commuter traffic from Westwood, Beverly Hills and points east backs up into Westwood Village trying to enter that ramp. Those drivers will now fan out into whatever alternative routes or transit modes they choose, adding to the traffic load elsewhere.
There's a good rundown today by the writers at Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky's website, and this video from Metro explaining the situation.
Previously on LA Observed:
Metro confirms trouble with 405 retaining wall
Would you believe the 'Rampture' on I-405?
Next for the 405 - closing the Wilshire ramps
Interesting stats from Carmageddo weekend
Bad news: 405 to reopen