Caltrans crews are ahead of schedule demolishing a 50-year-old connector bridge on a project that has temporarily closed a four-mile stretch of the southbound 405 Freeway in Orange County, officials said Sunday.
The last portion of the bridge was knocked down at 5:30 a.m., which will allow the freeway to reopen as scheduled by 5 p.m. Sunday, said David Richardson, a spokesman for Caltrans. The southbound 405 is shut down between the 605 and 22 freeways, while the northbound side is closed at Valley View Street.
Workers began the bridge demolition work at 9 p.m. Saturday after placing 125 steel plates on the freeway to protect the roadway from 3,600 tons of falling concrete, Davidson said. The concrete is being broken up, moved to the side of the roadway and hauled away.
Transportation officials have been warning motorists for days to stay away or find alternative routes around the road closure. On Sunday morning, there were minimal traffic-tie ups reported, and detoured traffic on Westminster Avenue, Studebaker Road and Valley View Street seemed to be running smoothly.
But officials said the real test will come later in the day.
The 20-hour freeway closure, dubbed the “Bridge Bash,” is aimed at removing the bridge that connects the 405 and 22 freeways. 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, officials said.
On an average summer weekend day, more than 300,000 vehicles zoom (or lurch) down the 405 between the 605 and 22 freeways.
Tearing down the bridge is part of a $277-million project to link carpool lanes of the 405, 22 and 605 freeways.
To discourage curious onlookers from aggravating traffic conditions, the Orange County Transportation Authority will post updated photos of the demolition on its blog and on Twitter (#BridgeBash).
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