Great news today with the final Wilshire ramp to the 405 reopening to traffic. While there is some minor work remaining on the ramps, motorists can now fully see the two benefits: more capacity on the ramps and, equally important, the ramps on both sides of the freeway separate traffic that is exiting and entering the freeway. In the past, that has been a major source of slowdowns as motorists weaved their way onto and off the 405.
Project Milestone: The Official End of Wilshire ‘Ramp Jam’
Metro, Caltrans, Kiewit Open Last Massive Flyover Ramp at Wilshire/I-405 Interchange
Los Angeles, Calif. – Attention motorists: All ramps are now open for business at the Wilshire/I-405 Interchange, bringing an official end to onerous, long-term ramp closures that have impacted traffic for more than a year at one of L.A.’s most heavily traveled street and freeway interchanges.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and contractor Kiewit Infrastructure West today opened the massive eastbound Wilshire to northbound I-405 “flyover” ramp to the public, ending a 90-day closure approximately two weeks earlier than scheduled.
The new, seismically updated ramp has nearly three times more capacity than the original ramp built in the 1950s. The new ramp is 3,129 feet long compared with the former ramp at 824 feet. It will allow far more vehicles to queue on the ramp rather than Wilshire and Sepulveda Boulevards. The on-ramp typically accommodates 8,000 vehicles per day, according to Caltrans figures.
The final ramp opening ends so-called “Ramp Jam” at Wilshire, a series of weeks- and months-long ramp closures that were required to improve the Wilshire interchange as part of the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project. While some intermittent night-time only closures may still remain, the reopening of all Wilshire ramps marks a major milestone for the ongoing delivery of the gigantic freeway improvements project that will finally complete the High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane network on the northbound I-405. When done, the bi-directional HOV lane will extend between Orange and Los Angeles Counties, making it the longest continuous HOV lane in the country.
“The reconstructed Wilshire interchange will produce some of the greatest traffic improvements for this entire 405 project,” said Diane Dubois, Metro Board Chair. “The added capacity of these ramps will meet expected vehicle demands in 2031 and will help reduce traffic backups on local streets. These new ramps will also make it safer for everyone who drives the 405.”
Flyover ramps constitute key safety improvements at the Wilshire interchange. The previous off-ramp/on-ramp configuration presented a dangerous weave situation at two vital intersections where drivers struggled with each another to reach a through freeway lane or change lanes to reach the off-ramp exit. The new flyover ramps now physically separate these vehicles in an exclusive lane, eliminating these conflicts.
“I want to thank our Westside residents, businesses and commuters for incredible patience throughout this project,” Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said. “Today, their perseverance has been rewarded with a set of freeway ramps that are far safer and more efficient, just one of the many improvements they will be able to enjoy when our 405 project is completed in less than a year.”
The flyover ramps are 30 feet above street level — much taller than common on- and off-ramps, effectively making the interchange’s visual profile striking as a directional reference point.
Overall, the Wilshire interchange’s eight freeway ramps had to be reconstructed in part to make room for an extra traffic lane created by the project. Combined, the rebuilt ramps add a whopping 75 percent additional capacity to the interchange. Below is a summary of key ramp capacity improvements:
- · Southbound off-ramp to eastbound Wilshire is 134 percent longer.
- · Northbound off-ramp to westbound Wilshire is 157 percent longer.
- · Northbound off-ramp to eastbound Wilshire is 15 percent longer.
- · Westbound Wilshire on-ramp to southbound I-405 is 59 percent longer.
- · Westbound Wilshire on-ramp to northbound I-405 is 38 percent longer.
- · Eastbound Wilshire onramp to southbound I-405 18 percent longer.
- · Eastbound Wilshire on-ramp to northbound I-405 is 280 percent longer.
“Caltrans is very pleased to mark the opening of the Wilshire ramps and looks forward to the increasing benefits we will see as more segments complete,” said District 7 Acting Director Carrie Bowen. “This carpool lane is of the utmost significance to the state freeway system, creating a vital link for motorists between Los Angeles and cities in Orange County.”
Work crews worked day and night to demolish and rebuild the ramps. Kiewit was able to eliminate several planned extended duration closures from the schedule by developing alternate work plans and performing major work during night-time hours.The southbound ramps were modified without requiring complete rebuilding. Other anticipated ramp closures at Olympic and Santa Monica Boulevards also were successfully eliminated from the construction schedule.
Looking forward to its next immediate milestone, the project team anticipates opening the northbound I-405 off-ramp at Sunset Boulevard in the coming weeks. The new off-ramp will be 60 percent longer. The extra capacity will benefit drivers traveling to the busy Westwood/UCLA area.
Metro reports that the project is now officially 85 percent complete. The project team continues to open parts of the project as soon as they are safe for public use. By the end of this year, the project team is on track to complete three other significant deliverables that also will have tangible benefits for motorists traveling on the northbound I-405 and in neighboring communities. These include the opening of a higher capacity northbound freeway off-ramp at Sunset Boulevard, the Skirball Center Drive and Mulholland Drive freeway bridges.
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. For real-time traffic conditions, visit the Caltrans web site at www.quickmap.dot.ca.gov.