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405 Freeway closure in O.C.: Coming hours will be the big test

August 18, 2013|By Hector Becerra

Eight hours into the so-called "Bridge Bash," the closure of the 405 Freeway in Orange County appears to be going on without a hitch.

Officials reported no problems overnight, and so far there have been minimal traffic backups. A spokesman for the Orange County Transportation Authority posted a video of the empty 405 Sunday morning.

The real test, however, will come this morning and afternoon as more people navigate the area. The freeway is scheduled to reopen at 5 p.m. Sunday.

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

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, said Ted Nguyen, spokesman for the Orange County Transportation Authority.

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).


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