Metro finds concrete cracks on Metro Gold Line Bridge abutment

During a routine investigation of Metro Gold Line bridge structures on Wednesday, March 26, Metro Operations discovered cracks in the concrete on a bridge abutment between Union Station and Little Tokyo/Arts District Station. The inspection occurred prior to the 5.1 earthquake on March 28.

Metro’s Engineering & Construction and Facilities Maintenance departments performed a preliminary investigation, analyzed the scope of the cracking and determined that the cracking does not pose a risk to public safety. A speed restriction of 8 mph has been implemented for trains crossing the bridge as a precaution. Metro will monitor the situation on a daily basis.

The cause of the cracking is still under investigation. In an abundance of caution, Metro will conduct a thorough assessment of transit aerial structures. Metro is arranging for its contractor to make needed repairs immediately.

New “Jamzilla” public service announcement available for public use

Continuing the urgent drum beat to raise public awareness on the planned northbound 405 80-hour paving operation in the Sepulveda Pass this Presidents’ Day Weekend, Metro, Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol have released a new public service announcement that is now freely available via Youtube.

Anyone who is interested in helping spread the word on their web sites or social media are welcome to link to the 30-second video. Here’s a transcript:

Hi, I’m Chief Dan Bower with the California Highway Patrol. We are again asking for the public’s help to avoid a major traffic jam here on the 405 this Presidents’ Day Weekend.  Metro and Caltrans will be conducting an unprecedented, 80-hour paving operation.  Motorists are advised to avoid delays, reduce driving and to simply stay away. The CHP will do its part to keep motorists safe.  The rest is up to you!

Jamzilla countown clock, banner ads now available for public use

Sample 405 80-Hour Counter

Sample 405 80-Hour Counter

In efforts to help individuals, businesses, agencies and other organizations count down to the planned partial daytime and full nighttime closures of the northbound I-405 freeway in the Sepulveda Pass Presidents’ Day Weekend Feb. 14-18, Metro has created an official online countdown clock and banner ads that are freely available for public use here.

The  online clock counts down the number of days, hours, minutes and seconds before the anticipated 80-hour northbound I-405 paving operation between Getty Center Drive and Ventura Boulevard officially begins.  On Friday night, February 14, ramps along the 5.6-mile closure area will begin to be shut down as early as 7 p.m., and closure of freeway lanes will begin at 11 p.m. to ensure full freeway closure by 1 a.m.  The operation and related daytime/nighttime lane closures will continue until 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, February 18.  For specific information on the operation, click here.

The clock and banner ad will remain live on Metro’s home page at metro.net and project page to serve as a constant, urgent reminder advising motorists to “Avoid Delays, Reduce Driving or Stay Away” to avoid potentially significant congestion and multi-hour delays.  A selection of “I-405: 80-Hour Closure” banner ads in various sizes and options can also be used to help raise public awareness as much as possible.

The web page provides code enabling webmasters to easily add the clock and banner graphics to their web sites.

Jamzilla 405 operation more complex than Carmageddon

The Presidents' Day northbound 405 paving operation will realign a portion of the freeway centerline to the west in the San Fernando Valley.

The Presidents’ Day northbound 405 paving operation will realign a portion of the freeway centerline to the west in the San Fernando Valley. Photo taken from project area on the southbound side of the 405.

The planned 80-hour “Jamzilla” paving operation now scheduled for Presidents’ Day Weekend, February 14-18 is more complex, requires new construction and is more time-consuming than the epic “Carmageddon” bridge demolitions of 2011 and 2012.

The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements project contractor, Kiewit Infrastructure West, will not benefit from gravity in the frenzied destruction of an iconic freeway bridge. Instead, the contractor will take its time to pour a single layer of pavement at a time.  Each concrete layer takes its own time to cure.  The operation is similar to baking layers of a wedding cake.

“Operationally speaking, demolishing a bridge is a much simpler operation than paving and striping freeway lanes that must return to public use as quickly as possible,” said K.N. Murthy, Executive Director of Transit Project Delivery at Metro. “It’s the essential difference between destroying a structure and building a structure. Building something is much more difficult, and the paving methods we are using vary between each material type and have specific requirements that must be adhered to.”

A car drives on the No. 1 lane that will receive a final pave during Jamzilla lane closures.

A car drives on the unfinished No. 1 northbound lane that will receive a final pave during Jamzilla lane closures.

The operation officially begins Friday night, February 14.  After a full northbound freeway closure at 1 a.m., Kiewit will begin excavating and paving multiple areas within the 5.6-mile area of the northbound I-405 in the Sepulveda Pass simultaneously. In order to complete as much paving work as possible, the contractor will use new polyester pavement that cures and reaches specified strength within hours instead of days, and provides an extremely durable roadway surface for the hundreds of thousands of vehicles that drive on the northbound 405 every day.

But the operation depends on the weather.  The polyester paving requires favorable temperatures in order to cure properly and give strength. If temperatures are less than favorable or if it rains, it could complicate the operation, or at worse, cause it to be rescheduled over several consecutive 55-hour weekend operations.

Polyester concrete has quick-dry, high-strength properties and is very compact.

Polyester concrete has quick-dry, high-strength properties and is very compact.

The contractor will perform up to four separate paving operations during the 80-hour period on various portions of the northbound 405.  The contractor must grind, tack, pave and stripe the freeway in a carefully choreographed sequence. Because the paving areas abut one other, the contractor will operate in a very confined work zone.  Maneuvering construction vehicles within this area for all needed work will be a logistical challenge.

Adding to the complexity of the operation, the contractor must shift the freeway centerline 20 feet to the west for approximately 1,000 feet as the northbound I-405 winds its way down into the San Fernando Valley.  There was no room for the freeway to be widened to the east due to the existence of a multi-residential building adjacent to the northbound 405 in Sherman Oaks.

A 1,000 portion of the freeway centerline in Sherman Oaks must be shifted 20 feet to the west.

A 1,000 portion of the freeway centerline in Sherman Oaks must be shifted 20 feet to the west.

Also in this area, approximately 1,700 feet of freeway and shoulder lanes must be completely excavated to full depths and rebuilt in order to realign the freeway to the west.

The most complex work will occur where the northbound 405 meets the Sepulveda Boulevard undercrossing bridge just before the U.S. 101 connector ramps.  The contractor must demolish and then rebuild the approach slabs on both sides of the freeway bridge to upgrade the slabs for seismic safety and roadway durability.  This includes first building a seat to accommodate the new approach slab. The contractor must also reinforce the concrete with rebar for seismic safety and ensure the new approach slabs comply with state highway standards.

Three concrete pours will be required to rebuild the approach slabs.  Each of those pours requires its own 8-hour cure time.  The extensive work required to rebuild these slabs drives the critical path for the entire 80-hour operation.

Approach_Slab

The Sepulveda undercrossing approach slab has to be rebuilt. The new roadway surface will be much improved for motorists.

Finally, when all paving and approach slab work is completed, the contractor will restripe the freeway prior to reopening lanes by 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, February 18.

Compared to the flurry of activity of the Carmageddon bridge demolitions, this new paving operation will have little visual excitement.  There will be periods during the 80-hour operation when concrete is curing where nothing appears to be happening. However, the contractor will still be working from a meticulous schedule to complete all tasks within the 80-hour period.

A Caltrans engineer shows the different layers of paving needed for the 80-hour operation.

A Caltrans engineer shows a cross-section of freeway to indicate the multiple layers of needed paving during the 80-hour operation.

Motorists are reminded to fully cooperate with agency calls to stay off the freeway just as they did during the previous Carmageddon closures.  Motorists should eliminate unnecessary auto trips, avoid the area and/or divert to other freeways to avoid major traffic delays.

“Tweed, Moxie and Mustaches” Bicycle Ride a Dandy Success

More than 300 participants dressed in their finest tweed and joined the Metro-sponsored C.I.C.L.E. bicycle ride last Saturday, January 18. The Tweed, Moxie and Mustaches Bicycle Ride convened at the Highland Park Metro Gold Line Station and visited historic landmarks in the Highland Park neighborhood on bicycle. Stops included stained glass manufacturer Judson Studios, the historic Lummis House, and the Audubon Center at Debs Park. Check out our video!

Metro/C.I.C.L.E. rides provide an opportunity to comfortably practice riding a bike within the safety of a group, become acquainted with bikeways, and reach local destinations by bike in Los Angeles County. This program helps implement the Board-adopted 2006 Metro Bicycle Transportation Strategic Plan policy to promote bicycling as a legitimate and healthy mode of transportation by providing leadership in building partnerships, funding, and resources for marketing bicycle use. This particular ride had the highest participation to date and was well attended by families and bicyclists of all experiences. The next Metro/C.I.C.L.E ride will take place in Watts on Saturday, February 15, so mark your calendars.

Jamzilla is coming: Unprecedented 80-hour paving operation planned for northbound 405 Presidents’ Day weekend

3712783930_9c693d81cf_b

Northbound traffic on the 405 through the Sepulveda Pass will be greatly curtailed President’s Day weekend. Avoid the area if you can. Photo by Jonathan Poh, via Flickr creative commons.

Los Angeles transportation officials are alerting I-405 and regional freeway motorists of an unprecedented 80-hour northbound I-405 freeway lane closure operation in the Sepulveda Pass this Presidents’ Day weekend, February 14 to 18, 2014.

The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), in conjunction with California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), and a host of law enforcement and emergency response agencies throughout L.A. County are giving the public advance notice that if they do not have a critical need to travel northbound through West Los Angeles and the Sepulveda Pass during the Presidents’ Day three-day weekend, they should eliminate unnecessary auto trips, avoid the area and/or divert to other freeways to avoid major traffic delays.

Traffic conditions on local streets and freeways within the region of Los Angeles County and beyond could become severe, with significant, hours-long delays if motorists do not cooperate with authorities and limit northbound freeway trips.

Motorists who must travel during this weekend are advised to prepare their itineraries in advance, monitor real-time traffic conditions prior to beginning their trips and follow alternate routes that are provided. Motorists will be continually informed of the closure in advance by Caltrans-operated freeway message signs.

The I-405 contractor will be paving a major segment of the future northbound I-405 High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane in the Sepulveda Pass. The work is considered key to meeting the project’s scheduled completion date of 2014.

Work over the Presidents’ Day weekend will eliminate the need for several consecutive 55-hour freeway closures from the project schedule. This closure operation will save significant time and minimize future closure impacts to the community and traveling public.

The closure operation consists of a partial day-time lane reduction and a full night-time directional freeway closure on the northbound I-405 between Getty Center Drive and Ventura Boulevard.  The closure area is approximately 5.6 miles long, or nearly two-thirds of the entire I-405 project area.

During daytime hours, two northbound lanes will remain open while the remaining three lanes will be closed.  During night-time hours, all five northbound freeway lanes in this area will be closed.

The southbound I-405 will remain fully open during the day, but some southbound lanes may be closed during night-time only paving operations.

Work is scheduled to begin Friday night, February 14 starting at 11 p.m. and will last until Tuesday, February 18 at 6 a.m.

Ramps within the project area will begin to close as early as 7 p.m. Traffic officers provided by LADOT will help guide motorists at each I-405 northbound on-ramp.

Full northbound night-time freeway closure times are as follows:

  • Friday night, February 14 – 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Saturday night, February 15 - 2 a.m. to 7 a.m.
  • Sunday night, February 16 – 12 a.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Monday night, February 17 – 12 a.m. to 5 a.m.

The designated alternative route for night-time full closures will be for motorists to take the Wilshire northbound to westbound off-ramp to northbound Sepulveda Boulevard, returning to northbound I-405 at the Greenleaf northbound on-ramp.

Sepulveda Boulevard also will be fully open with two lanes in each direction during the paving operation.  However, Sepulveda Boulevard will not have the capacity to accommodate all diverted northbound freeway traffic, and could become severely congested. Freeway motorists should instead divert to other freeway routes.

I-10 connectors to the northbound I-405 also will be closed. Motorists detouring from the closed I-10 connectors should use freeway detour routes rather than local streets.

The connector detour routes will be as follows:

  • For eastbound I-10 to northbound I-405 – use northbound I-110, northbound US 101, to northbound I-405.
  • For westbound I-10 to northbound I-405 – use northbound I-5, westbound SR 134, northbound US 101, to northbound I-405.

The construction schedule is subject to change, and paving work is dependent on favorable weather conditions. In the event of inclement weather during the 80-hour closure, the project will commence continuous 55-hour weekend closures of the northbound freeway starting the following weekend, February 21 for up to four weekends to complete the originally intended work.

The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements project has now concluded most major freeway widening work between the I-10 and U.S. 101. The contractor is now building the future northbound HOV lane that will connect West Los Angeles with the San Fernando Valley.

The project will officially complete the last remaining gap in the entire I-405 lane network.  Additional project benefits include improved freeway safety through standardized lane and shoulder widths, greater ramp capacities at key locations, new sound and retaining walls, widened overpasses, widened and seismically updated bridges.

The project is a joint effort between Metro and Caltrans, and is being constructed by Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.

Carmageddon Revisited: Metro, Caltrans and Kiewit reopen iconic Mulholland Bridge

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The iconic Mulholland Bridge that spawned two unprecedented weekend closures of the nation’s busiest freeway and introduced the word “Carmageddon” into the American vernacular was fully reopened to traffic in Los Angeles at 6 a.m. Wednesday after nearly two-and-a-half years of intensive bridge reconstruction work.

The contractor, Kiewit Infrastructure West, implemented the final traffic switch, signal and lane striping work needed to reopen the new northern half of the bridge, returning all lanes to full capacity in time for the mid-week morning rush hour today. Approximately 20,000 vehicles travel over the bridge on a daily basis.

The return of the new bridge to full capacity is the latest milestone for the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project, which is building a 10-mile carpool lane on the northbound I-405 between the 10 and 101 freeways.  As the administrator of the design-build project, Metro and its project partner Caltrans have committed to continue opening parts of the massive freeway widening project as soon as they are deemed safe and ready for public use.

Continue reading

Nighttime directional freeway closures in West L.A. planned December 2, 3, and 4

UPDATE: The closure area and detour routes for Monday night and Tuesday night directional freeway closures has been updated.  The closure is now between Sunset and Santa Monica Boulevards.  Please see changes below.

Here’s the news release:

Nighttime Directional Freeway Closures in West L.A. Planned December 2, 3, and 4, 2013

The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project contractor is scheduled to implement full directional closures of the I-405 in West L.A. the nights of December 2, 3, and 4, 2013. The closures will facilitate the realignment of lanes to accommodate work at the freeway median for roadway widening.

Below is a schedule of closures:

Monday Night, December 2: Southbound I-405 Full Nighttime Directional Closure

  • The southbound I-405 will be fully closed the night of Monday, December 2 from midnight to 5 a.m. on Tuesday, December 3 from Sunset Boulevard to Santa Monica Boulevard.
  • Lanes will begin to close at 10 p.m., and ramps will be closed as early as 7 p.m.
  • Detour: From the southbound I-405, exit at Sunset Boulevard, turn right onto northbound Church Lane, turn right onto southbound Sepulveda Boulevard, turn right onto westbound Santa Monica Boulevard and enter the southbound I-405 on-ramp on the left, at westbound Santa Monica Boulevard.

Tuesday Night, December 3: Southbound I-405 Full Nighttime Directional Closure

  • The southbound I-405 will be fully closed the night of Tuesday, December 3, from midnight to 5 a.m. on Wednesday, December 4, from Sunset Boulevard to Santa Monica Boulevard.
  • Lanes will begin to close at 10 p.m., and ramps will be closed as early as 7 p.m.
  • Detour: From the southbound I-405, exit at Sunset Boulevard, turn right onto northbound Church Lane, turn right onto southbound Sepulveda Boulevard, turn right onto westbound Santa Monica Boulevard and enter the southbound I-405 on-ramp on the left, at westbound Santa Monica Boulevard.

Wednesday Night, Dec. 4: Northbound I-405 Full Nighttime Directional Closure

  • The northbound I-405 will be fully closed the night of Wednesday, December 4, from midnight to 5 a.m. on Thursday, December 5, from Santa Monica Boulevard to Moraga Drive.
  • Lanes will begin to close at 10 p.m., and ramps will be closed as early as 7 p.m.
  • Detour: From the northbound I-405, exit at westbound Wilshire Boulevard, turn right to northbound Sepulveda Boulevard, turn left onto the Moraga Drive northbound I-405 on-ramp.

What to expect:

  • Work is dependent on favorable weather conditions.
  • Emergency access will be maintained at all times.
  • For a listing of daily closures and latest updates visit our website at www.metro.net/405 or follow us on twitter: twitter.com/I_405 and Facebook at facebook.com/405project.

Metro-174                                                                                                     # # #

Why will an off-ramp on the 405 freeway disappear?

A couple news stations are reporting on the permanent closure of the Montana off-ramp in West Los Angeles as part of I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project widening work. Metro’s social media officer, Ned Racine, penned a clever “obituary” for the ramp in February of 2012 on Metro’s I-405 web page.
We’re adding it here on the Source for your reading enjoyment.

Why Will an Off-Ramp Disappear?

A Westside landmark will vanish when the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project finishes its work. Although not as prominent as the Wilshire ramps nor Sunset Bridge, this Westside resident will be hard to miss, in part because it is approximately 550 feet long and weighs 718 tons (1,435,000 pounds).

A Los Angeles resident since 1956, the northbound I-405 off-ramp to Montana Bl/Sepulveda Bl, will be consumed by the freeway’s widening along Sepulveda Bl. The widening occurs from Montana to Moraga and from Getty Center Dr to the northbound Getty Center Dr off-ramp.

For those who drive Sepulveda Bl, a major benefit from the off-ramp removal will be a simplified Montana Bl/Sepulveda Bl intersection. This translates to faster and safer traffic flow through the intersection, in part because there will be one less traffic signal cycle to slow drivers.
For the off-ramp’s neighbors, they should experience less east-bound traffic through the streets adjoining the two-lane Montana Av off-ramp, according to Caltrans traffic studies. Caltrans’ decision would also reduce noise near Montana Av.

By sacrificing the Montana Av off-ramp, Caltrans can widen the freeway without having to remove homes and other properties near Montana Av.

The project team expects UCLA traffic that used the Montana Av off-ramp to choose the expanded Sunset Bl Bridge and streamlined northbound off-ramps to Wilshire Bl.

wilshire_bi_ramps_final

Sunset-Bridge-Rendering-Final1200x600

The I-405 project team expects that removing the Montana Av off-ramp, grading the area, widening the adjoining freeway, and restriping Sepulveda Bl will require approximately five months of continuous work.

As seen in the illustration below, the simplified Sepulveda/Montana intersection will carry traffic in four, rather than five directions. The darkened freeway lanes will be added by the I-405 project. The new Montana Bl/Sepulveda Bl intersection will have the same width and number of lanes.

AFTER-rendering-6-07-11-CS4

Although closing the ramp was publicized even before the Final Environmental Report was published in January 2008, some residents and travelers will likely be surprised when the off-ramp and 500 feet of retaining and sound walls are removed and replaced with a continuous sound wall.

After all, how often do California travelers witness the disappearance of entire off-ramp.

Ned Racine

New northbound off-ramp from 405 is now open for business

20131125-074350.jpg

Photos by Dave Sotero/Metro.

Sunset3

The northbound ramp from the 405 freeway to Sunset Boulevard reopened this morning, thereby ending construction work on ramp improvements at the 405-Sunset interchange.

The top photos shows one of the first vehicles to use the newly lengthened and widened ramp; the bottom photo shows a later participant :)  More details and photos in this earlier post.