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New 'flyover' ramp opens on 405 Freeway at Wilshire Boulevard

September 23, 2013|By Martha Groves
  • A rendering shows newly opened "flyover ramp" (upper part of frame) and second flyover ramp slated for completion later this year.
A rendering shows newly opened "flyover ramp" (upper part of… (Los Angeles County Metropolitan…)

Many commuters through the Sepulveda Pass had new pavement to navigate Monday morning.

The longer (and theoretically safer) southbound 405 "flyover" offramp to eastbound Wilshire Boulevard officially opened for its first workday rush hour, transportation officials said.

The new ramp is 3,117 feet long and provides a dedicated lane for traffic exiting to the Westwood area. It replaces the original 1,330-foot ramp, built in the mid-1950s, that required motorists exiting and entering the freeway to weave to avoid one another.

The ramp work is part of the massive $1-billion-plus project to add a 10-mile carpool lane through the Westside between the 10 and 101 freeways.

The project, whose full-freeway weekend closures introduced the term "Carmageddon" to the vernacular, was originally planned for completion last May but is now expected to take until at least mid-2014, according to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Kiewit, the contractor, had initially planned a 90-day closure to complete work on the just-opened flyover ramp. But alternative plans and nighttime construction allowed workers to finish without fully shutting down the site.

A 90-day closure is in effect on the other side of the freeway, where workers are building the second and final flyover ramp that eastbound motorists on Wilshire will use to merge onto the northbound 405.

"By the end of the year, we anticipate finishing all of these ramps and finally bringing some much-needed relief to Westside motorists," said K.N. Murthy, Metro's executive director of transit project delivery.

Once completed, the ramps will add 75% more capacity at the interchange and will conform to the latest seismic standards, Metro said.

Completion of the Wilshire ramps has been delayed many months because of challenges with federally owned properties involving acquisition of rights-of-way, the relocation of utility lines under Sepulveda Boulevard, the simultaneous construction of freeway underpasses and work on retaining walls.

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Twitter: @MarthaGroves

martha.groves@latimes.com

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