Marking a new milestone for the I-405 Improvements Project, contractors on Sunday opened a brand new I-405 onramp south of Skirball Drive in the Sepulveda Pass.
The new onramp, accessible on Sepulveda Boulevard for drivers heading southbound on the I-405, is now 2,000 feet south of the Skirball Bridge, and is one of the key roadway improvements in this billion dollar freeway widening project.
Over the weekend, work crews completed traffic reconfiguration to open the new ramp, and at the same time permanently closed the existing freeway onramp on Skirball Center Drive Bridge. That ramp will later be torn down. The new southbound off-ramp is still under construction and expected to be complete later this year.
There were two main reasons the ramp was moved further south on Sepulveda. First, the project team sought to eliminate a traffic choke point on Skirball Center Drive bridge resulting from the previous placement of two traffic signals within very close proximity of each other. Second, they wanted to help keep north/south traffic moving along Sepulveda Boulevard.
Anyone who has driven in this area of the pass knows that navigating both traffic signals could be quite lengthy, adding to congestion and delays.
Under the new configuration, cars will be able to travel more quickly and efficiently on Skirball Drive and Sepulveda, also due to improved signal timing at the intersection.
Here are a few other benefits of the relocated southbound on-and off-ramps near Skirball:
- Greater ramp storage capacity for vehicles entering and exiting the I-405 freeway.
- Dedicated turn-lanes on Sepulveda Boulevard for cars entering and exiting the freeway.
- New bike routes on Sepulveda Boulevard between Skirball Center Drive and the new southbound on- and off-ramps.
- Simpler design of the Sepulveda Boulevard/Skirball Center Drive intersection, resulting in a safer intersection.
Meanwhile, contractor work to reconstruct the entire Skirball Center Drive Bridge continues. This bridge, along with the Mulholland and Sunset Bridges, have had to be demolished and rebuilt as part of freeway lane widening to accommodate an extra lane of traffic for high-occupancy vehicles on the northbound 405. The Skirball bridge’s new columns have now been built, and crews are currently building the bridge’s abutments. The entire bridge should be finished in 2013.