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405 Freeway closure in Orange County begins

August 17, 2013|By Hector Becerra
  • Demolition work is about to begin at the 22 and 405 freeways in Orange County. This is a view from the new 22 east connector to the 405.
Demolition work is about to begin at the 22 and 405 freeways in Orange County.… (Jay Clendenin / Los Angeles…)

Nearly a year of preparations and warnings to commuters are being tested now with the 9 p.m. closure of a four-mile stretch of the 405 Freeway in Orange County.

Transportation officials hope to avoid traffic jobs from the 20-hour closure, dubbed "Bridge Bash" after the demolition of a 50-year-old bridge that connects the 405 and 22 freeways.

Ted Nguyen, a spokesman for the Orange County Transportation Authority, said crews and officials met about an hour before the closure to hash out final instructions.

“We are ready for anything that comes our way,” he said.

Photos: Orange County's Bridge Bash

After 10 months of preparations, demolition crews put bulldozers, cranes and other wrecking equipment in place Saturday afternoon in the hours before the shutdown.

On an average summer weekend day, more than 300,000 vehicles zoom (or lurch) down that section of the 405 between the 605 and 22 freeways.

The closure will redirect traffic onto the streets of Westminster and nearby neighborhoods. It is one of the biggest and longest closures of the 405 in Orange County since that section of the freeway was built in the 1960s, Nguyen said.

“There will be some inconvenience for those people who are caught up in the closure,” he said.

Authorities have urged drivers to avoid the area, posting warnings of the closure on 120 flashing electronic signs in Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties, Nguyen said.

Tearing down the bridge is part of a $277-million project to link carpool lanes of the 405, 22 and 605 freeways.

The southbound 405 will be closed between the 605 and 22 freeways. The northbound side will be closed at Valley View Street.

To discourage curious onlookers from aggravating traffic conditions, the transportation authority will post updated photos of the demolition on its blog and on Twitter (#BridgeBash).

“They’re going to get a lot of behind-the-scenes work,” Nguyen said of those who watch the demolition online. “They’re going to feel like they’re actually there without being there physically.”

The freeway is scheduled to reopen at 5 p.m. Sunday.

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hector.becerra@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATimesHekutor

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