All southbound lanes of the 405 Freeway reopened Friday evening after a small plane prompted an hourslong closure of the heavily trafficked freeway ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
Caltrans announced the southbound 405 and connector roads to the 55 were fully reopened around 5 p.m.
The roadway was initially closed in both directions immediately after the plane crashed at approximately 9:35 a.m., as it was headed back to John Wayne Airport to make an emergency landing.
Two people in the plane were hospitalized. No other injuries were reported, although the pane possibly hit as many as six vehicles, according to Caltrans.
Northbound lanes were largely reopened following the temporary closure; on the other side of the freeway, vehicles were getting by on the left shoulder as of noon, Sky5 aerial video showed.
The southbound lanes were closed amid the investigation into the crash; the fiery wreckage of the plane remained on the southbound freeway near the MacArthur Boulevard exit for hours.
Authorities said it would likely be removed in the afternoon.
“Right now this aircraft’s home is going to be here on the southbound 405 … for a little while,” Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Larry Kurtz said earlier in the day.
The plane was finally removed from the road just before 4:30 p.m., Caltrans District 12 tweeted. The road was cleaned up, and the freeway was reopened a short time after that.
Additionally, a piece of the plane landed in the northbound carpool lane, prompting Caltrans crews worked to assess the damage it caused to the pavement and median.
Traffic was snarled in the area most of the day; by 1 p.m., vehicles were backed up for about eight miles in each direction of the 405, according to John Wayne Airport Director Barry Rondinella.
Sky5 video over the scene showed some cars turning around on the 405 as traffic slowed to a crawl in the immediate aftermath of the crash.