Metro, Kiewit complete major reconstruction work on Sunset bridge, reopen all lanes to Westside motorists

This is a nice kickoff to Carmageddon week. Here’s the news release from Metro:

Los Angeles, Calif. – Marking the first bridge delivery milestone for the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and its contractor, Kiewit Infrastructure West, have officially completed major reconstruction work on the Sunset Bridge over the I-405 in West Los Angeles, and today reinstated all traffic lanes to motorists.

The new Sunset Bridge is higher, longer and significantly wider at 120 feet — approximately 30 feet wider than before.  It features two additional traffic lanes and higher capacity on- and off-ramps to improve area traffic flows and reduce congestion on local streets.  Motorists will now enjoy dedicated turn lanes to access freeway ramps, and motorists traveling east/west through the bridge will be able to do so more quickly.

“The completion of the Sunset Bridge brings us one step closer to a faster, more efficient transportation network on the West Side of Los Angeles,” said L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “The Sunset Bridge is a crucial connection to the 405 Freeway and these improvements will provide much-needed relief to the residents who travel in the area.”

A gateway to UCLA to the east and Brentwood and Santa Monica to the west, the Sunset Bridge typically accommodates between 18,000 and 22,000 motorists on an average weekday.  It is a critical, freeway-accessible segment of Sunset, a major east/west arterial for the Westside.  The reopening is anticipated to bring much-needed relief to local residents and commuters who have endured approximately two years of construction-related traffic impacts.

“The completion of major bridge work at Sunset will provide immediate relief to the many thousands of drivers who use Sunset Boulevard to traverse West Los Angeles every day,” said Zev Yaroslavsky, L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Member. “While this construction process has not been easy on anyone, the benefits are certainly worth it for anyone trying to negotiate the Sunset/405 interchange.  I’m confident these capacity improvements will better prepare the Westside for the traffic demands of tomorrow.”

During reconstruction, the new bridge’s columns were repositioned to accommodate the additional freeway lane created by the project.

Other major bridge improvements and features include seismic upgrades, wider shoulders, and sidewalks.  The new bridge also contains a new water line, underground power lines and other utility improvements.  Construction work continues to build a brand new freeway on-ramp to the I-405, which is expected to be complete next year.

Demolition and subsequent reconstruction of the Sunset Bridge occurred in two phases beginning in July 2010.  The bridge is the first of three bridges to be demolished and rebuilt as part of the project.  The other two bridges are the Skirball and Mulholland Bridges, which are in various stages of demolition and reconstruction.  Final demolition of the Mulholland Bridge and resulting bi-directional freeway closure, popularly known as “Carmageddon II” is scheduled for September 29-30.

Sunset Bridge reconstruction is part of Metro’s $1 billion I-405 freeway improvements project now under construction between the I-10 and U.S. 101.  A joint partnership between Metro and Caltrans, the project will create a 10-mile carpool lane on the northbound I-405.  The project will add capacity to this portion of the nation’s busiest freeway and make it safer.  Other project enhancements include the improvement of supporting freeway infrastructure and capacity improvements at key interchanges such as Sunset and Wilshire Boulevards.

For latest updates visit the project web site at www.metro.net/405 or follow the project on twitter: twitter.com/I_405 and Facebook at facebook.com/405project.