Highlights from this afternoon's news conference on 405 closure

Officials from the city of Los Angeles and Metro finished a news conference a few minutes ago at the city’s Emergency Operations Center in downtown. A few highlights:

•L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa thanked everyone, including the media, for helping get the word out to avoid area roads if at all possible. The mayor said he took a helicopter view of the area earlier this afternoon and saw light traffic around the area.

•LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk  Albanese said that anyone trying to walk on the freeway will be arrested. It may be empty of cars, but it’s a construction zone and people need to stay away for their safety and the safety of others.

•Officials said they will likely have to be more creative next year in persuading the public to stay out of their cars when the northern side of the Mulholland Bridge will be torn down. They won’t want people to assume it’s okay to drive because traffic has thus far been light this year.

•Officials are also asking anyone attending the soccer game tonight at the L.A. Coliseum or concerts at the Hollywood Bowl to consider taking public transit or carpooling.

Latest progress report on 405 closure, bridge work

As of 2:30 p.m., a report from the contractor, Kiewet, says that all work is on schedule:

•All three girders of the center span of the bridge have been demolished and crews are beginning to clear away the demolished concrete, steel, and dirt pad from under the center span.

•The northern half of the bridge (portion that will remain for 11 months) is now exposed in the center span. Crews are at work thoroughly cleaning the new exposed edges.

•The top deck of the bridge has now been demolished from end to end leaving only girders and bottom deck on the end spans.

•The first of three girders has been demolished on the western span. Work has begun demolishing girders on the eastern span.

•Workers this afternoon will begin to saw through the large concrete beams on top of the columns, an undertaking expected to last into Saturday night.

There is also a good post on the website of Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, whose district includes the Sepulveda Pass and the Mulholland Drive Bridge being partially torn down this weekend. Excerpt:

We have 40 hours or less to go, and I urge all of you to stay the course. Stay home, patronize local stores and restaurants, and do everything you can to stay out of your cars until this weekend’s work is completed. It worked last night, and it’s working this morning. We need to sustain this for another day and a half, and then Carmageddon will be in our rear view mirror.

405 bone dry of cars — a beautiful sight, eh?

photo by Dave Sotero/Metro

This photo was taken about an hour ago from the Angeleno Hotel at Sunset Boulevard looking south toward the 405. It’s quite a scene, considering this is the very stretch of road that regularly hosts some of Southern California’s worst traffic jams.

Mulholland Bridge noon update

photo by Gayle Anderson/Metro

Metro highways chief Doug Failing just briefed the media a few minutes ago on the partial demolition of the Mulholland Bridge over the 405.

The center part of the southern half of the bridge is now down, as well as three supporting girders. Work is on schedule. The above photo was taken just after 12 p.m. today.

Good aerial view of Mulholland Bridge work on 405

photo courtesy the city of Santa Monica

Here’s a very cool view of the demolition work being done on the south side of the Mulholland Drive Bridge on the 405 taken this morning. The photo was taken from a city of Santa Monica helicopter.

Progress being made on Mulholland Bridge work

Photo by Dave Sotero/Metro.

The tearing down of the southern side of the Mulholland Drive Bridge as seen from the media viewing site about 8:40 this morning. As of mid-morning, all work is on schedule.

The latest word from Metro’s operations staff is that ridership so far this morning is light on the Orange Line and the Red and Purple Line subway, as well as on the bus system. All extra service has been deployed to the Westside and construction work is on schedule.

Here is our post from yesterday explaining the many transit options for getting around this weekend.

The work at about 7:30 a.m. this morning on the bridge. Photo by Jose Ubaldo/Metro.

It's done: the 405 freeway over the Sepulveda Pass is closed

The scene at midnight on the 405. Photo by Jose Ubaldo/Metro.

The 405 is now fully closed over the Sepulveda Pass in order to tear down the southern half of the Mulholland Bridge. It is not scheduled to reopen until 6 a.m. Monday.

Here is our post from earlier today explaining the many transit options for getting around this weekend.

For more information about the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project, click here.

Please avoid roads around the closure area this weekend. If you must drive, plan extra time. Better yet, stay home and enjoy your neighborhood.

To watch live video of work on the bridge, click here.

The scene under the bridge shortly after midnight. Photo by Dave Sotero/Metro.