Mulholland bridge a new congestion point on 405 project

Looking East, Mulholland Bridge reduced to one lane in each direction. Photo: Gary Leonard

The fun never ends with the 405 improvements project, where work crews are in the full thrust of construction virtually everywhere in the 10-mile project area.  Witness the latest public warning on potential congestion, this time on the Mulholland Drive Bridge in Los Angeles.  It now has one lane in each direction following last month’s demolition of the south side of the bridge during “Carmageddon” weekend.

The lane reduction on Mulholland Drive will further slow access in the area already impacted by reduced lanes on nearby Skirball Center Drive Bridge, which provides access to the 405.  Workers are busy rebuilding half of that bridge now.

It may take a few weeks for traffic to adjust to the new reductions, but the project team has observed a normalization of traffic (i.e., cars choosing other routes) at the  Sunset and Skirball bridges when their lanes were first reduced.  It is expected that Mulholland Bridge will also follow that pattern.

So, you commuters who intentionally bypass Sepulveda Boulevard and the 405 driving through the canyon passes and on Mulholland Drive to get to work, here’s a wake-up call:  Congestion ahead.  Let the locals use the road.  Plan ahead and pick another route.

Read the news release after the jump.

Travel Advisory
Metro, LADOT and Caltrans Warn of Traffic Congestion on Mulholland Drive Bridge

With the end of summer approaching, The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) and Caltrans are now warning motorists about severe congestion and traffic delays expected for morning commute routes that include crossing over the Mulholland Drive Bridge in Los Angeles due to its reduced lane capacity.

Transportation agencies are requesting that this portion of Mulholland Drive be used for local access only, and that motorists from nearby Valley and Westside communities utilize other major thoroughfares such as Sepulveda Boulevard or the I-405 freeway for their morning commutes.

Additional vehicular traffic is expected with the end of the summer vacation period and start of the school year in September.

Construction crews demolished the south side of Mulholland Drive Bridge the weekend of July 16-17, 2011 in what has become popularly known as “Carmageddon.”  The demolition activity reduced the bridge’s capacity to one lane in each direction with no dedicated turn lanes.  The reduced capacity is expected to create additional congestion and delays both for morning commuters, local schools and canyon pass communities should out-of-area motorists not change their driving routes.

Any time-savings offered by traversing Mulholland Drive to access I-405 freeway on-ramps or parts beyond will be negated as a result of the lane reduction.

The bridge’s reduced lane capacity is expected to be in place until 2013, as construction crews rebuild half of the bridge at a time over the next two years.  When complete, the placement of the bridge’s new columns will accommodate an additional traffic lane on the I-405 freeway.

Transportation agencies are providing alternate routes that travel on major thoroughfares rather than local streets.  Alternate route maps are available on the Metro web site at

To help mitigate traffic impacts, Metro will place motorist information signs on nearby streets and main access points from Mulholland Drive, particularly in the communities of Sherman Oaks and Encino.

Traffic control officers will initially be assigned at the intersection of Mulholland Drive and Skirball Center Drive to facilitate traffic movement beginning August 29 during the morning peak traffic hours.

All transportation agencies will continually monitor the traffic conditions, and additional traffic mitigation measures will be implemented if possible.

The Mulholland Bridge is being replaced to accommodate the widening of the I-405 freeway as part of the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project.  The $1 billion 10-mile northbound carpool lane construction project is a joint effort between Metro and Caltrans, and is being constructed by Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.  It is scheduled for completion in 2013.

# # #

2 replies

  1. Congestion indeed, and so that’s when the back roads become useful, no need to use mulholland at all. But maybe if there was actually a transit line that ran between the valley and the west side than I wouldn’t even have to use the back roads to begin with, but since we STILL don’t have a non-traffic transit option to west LA after all these years, oh well, then back roads it is, because I am not going to sit in the parking lot that is the 405 between the 101 and skirball center in the morning just because LA could not get it together for the past 20+ years in terms of a proper transit link or lack thereof. All these 405 “improvements” are a waste of money that should have been used for other transit options, with the exception of the bridge reconstruction because that involved earthquake safety. The Cahuenga pass got the red line and boy has that done some good for that commute, so its about time the Sepulveda pass get a line too.

  2. There was already considerable congestion on Mulholland not due primarily to cut-through commuter traffic but to the proliferating number of private schools which produces caravans of SUVs each dropping off or picking up one child. And the credit for that lies squarely with the City Council District 11 office (currently held by Rosendahl, though the issue goes back to Cindy Miscikowski and Marvin Braude before her) which keeps permitting “up-zoning” to benefit their campaign contributors. Its all been a process of the “camel’s nose under the tent”. The ludicrous and wasteful reconstruction of the Mulholland drive bridge has simply exacerbated the problem.