After four-and-a-half years of construction that included two “Carmageddon” shutdowns, the full length of a new carpool lane was opened Friday morning on the northbound side of the 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass (map).
About 4:30 a.m., vehicles began traveling along the 8-mile stretch of the high-occupancy-vehicle lane between the 101 Freeway and Wilshire Boulevard. A 2.4-mile section of the carpool lane between Wilshire and the 10 Freeway had opened on April 28.
“This is a very important project,” Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said Friday, standing near the 405 ahead of a news conference in West Los Angeles. “It’s not only the added HOV lane that now makes a seamless HOV … system between Orange County and the 101 Freeway. But we also took advantage of the opportunity to seismically upgrade three bridges — Sunset [Boulevard], Skirball [Center Drive] and Mulholland [Drive].”
With Friday’s opening, northbound and southbound drivers can now travel in a continuous 36-mile carpool lane between the 405/5 interchange in the San Fernando Valley and the Orange County line.
The project also “fixed one of the worst on-ramp off-ramp configurations at Wilshire Boulevard — the most unsafe in the country, I think, and now regularized it so that people don’t take their life into their hands getting on and off the freeway” Yaroslavsky said.
Mayor Eric Garcetti joined city officials and the Federal Highway Administration during a Friday news conference to celebrate the opening.
“The 405 project is absolutely critical to our quality of life and our economy, but for drivers and people living here on the west side, this can’t come soon enough,” Garcetti said.