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Group Wants Metro to Speed Up 405 Freeway Work

A citizens group said the 405 freeway improvements are taking too long.

Construction on the $1 billion-plus widening of the San Diego (405) Freeway is two-thirds completed, but a citizens group says builders have hit major snags and delays, which is not acceptable.

Final completion of the rebuilt 405 has been pushed back into 2014, due to unforeseen delays in relocating major utility lines and moving old Sepulveda Boulevard, Metro construction officials said last week.

Paving work and bridge construction just south of Sunset Boulevard has been delayed while utilities were relocated and Sepulveda was moved to the east, into some large hillsides, construction officials have said. Petroleum, gas, electric, fiber, water, sewer and flood control lines all had to be moved.

A 12-foot-square box encasing a storm drain was not on maps, and its discovery presented a huge unforeseen engineering problem, project manager Mike Barbour told an oversight committee last week. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky's blog reported the comments.

In addition, 16 retaining walls that were put up early in the project were deemed structurally unsound, and were torn out, redesigned and rebuilt.

The delays have peeved a Westwood resident named David Murphy, who heads a group called Angelenos Against Gridlock.

"The impact of delays hit a lot of people, and it cannot be taken lightly,'' Murphy told City News Service. But he said he thought "Metro staff are doing the best they can, I don't really have a complaint against them.''

Murphy singled out contractors, and said they need to "ramp up their level of manpower, hours worked, and concentration of effort.''

The widening project is being built under a design-build concept, where contractors and Metro work together on engineering and construction as they go.

The agency must pay overtime or acceleration costs, under many circumstances, Metro officials have said in the past.

Widened lanes on the southern end of the project, from Wilshire Boulevard to the Santa Monica (10) Freeway, should be in service this summer, Metro officials said at last week's meeting. North of there sits the troublesome area, and the framework for the second half of the Mulholland Drive bridge has yet to be positioned to allow construction.

When finished, the 10-mile project will include a completely-rebuilt freeway, with 28 re-engineered and rebuilt on- and off-ramps. Exit lanes will be added in both directions, and a new northbound carpool lane will be added to match the southbound carpool lane that was squeezed in decades ago.

The project is a keystone for a 100-mile carpool lane thread across Los Angeles and Orange counties. Metro is the lead agency on the project, and is partnering with Caltrans on it.

RELATED STORIES

• Metro to Close I-405 Lanes From Montana to Getty Center

• 405 Freeway Work Falls Behind Schedule

JohnCySmith.com February 25, 2013 at 07:25 AM
It IS a huge project. But I've often wondered why Cal Trans cannot add more people and resources and complete projects sooner. Ten years to build carpool lanes from the 90 to the 101 Freeway, is too long. We can do better.
JohnCySmith.com February 25, 2013 at 07:27 AM
One more thing... WHO signed off on the Green Line and allowed it to bypass LAX?
Bernice McCombie February 26, 2013 at 02:36 PM
The off ramp sign at sunset going north wAs removed and never replaced.
CulverCityNative February 26, 2013 at 05:36 PM
Best thing about this is... it isn't going to help one bit. Adding one lane to a freeway system that is bottle-necked and runs bumper to bumper / stop and go 23 hrs out of 24, is just a joke. I just laugh and shake my head at the Mullhuland bridge widening. You could add 5 lanes and it wouldn't do a thing, not along the 405 and 10 fwys in WLA. But, I guess they have to spend the money on something.
CulverCityNative February 26, 2013 at 05:38 PM
"16 retaining walls that were put up early in the project were deemed structurally unsound, and were torn out, redesigned and rebuilt." Well, I hope we get a refund on this! Ha! (not holding my breath)

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