Metro photo of new Wilshire Boulevard ramps on and off the 405 freeway.
When the eastbound Wilshire Boulevard onramp to the northbound 405 opens on Thursday, the transformation will be essentially complete at one of the city's most painful traffic choke points. After more than a year of construction, all of the ramps at Wilshire will be open. ZevWeb has a sneak peek.
With that last piece in place, all of the new Wilshire ramps will be fully open for business—that’s right, the construction effort known variously as “Ramp Jam” or “The Rampture” is over. After getting started on June 22 of last year, the massive project-within-a-project is wrapping up 13 days ahead of schedule.
Michael Barbour, who manages the project for Metro, said traffic in the area should get better for locals and all drivers passing through.
“The most significant improvement to any one interchange in the entire project is right here,” Barbour said. “It’s going to bring an operational improvement across the board.”
Before the project, motorists frequently backed up on the I-405 and Wilshire and Sepulveda Boulevards as they waited to enter or exit the freeway. With the new configuration, the capacity of the on-ramps and off-ramps has been significantly increased. For example, the ramp that opens Thursday is 3,129 feet long—more than three times the length of the old one, which was built in the 1950s. That added space will accommodate more of the approximately 8,000 vehicles that take the ramp each day, getting them out of normal traffic lanes. Turning lanes have also been added on Wilshire and Sepulveda so vehicles can slow down to get on the freeway without slowing everyone else down as well.
The new intersection will improve safety, too, Barbour said, with fewer vehicles weaving through lanes to get on and off the freeway.
OK, so that's the good news. The overall 405-Sepulveda Pass project remains way behind schedule. Metro says the construction is now 85% complete. When the last ramp at Sunset Boulevard opens by the end of November, according to Barbour, all of the permanent ramp closures will be finished. Barbour said he expects bridge work to be completed by the end of this year.