Early Monday morning, Metro’s contractor quietly completed lane restriping and freeway sign installation work needed to open an initial 2.4-mile section of northbound 405 carpool lane between the Santa Monica Freeway and Wilshire Boulevard. But hold on: it’s not the official opening yet of the full carpool lane. The remainder of the 7.5-mile lane that extends to the 101 freeway in the San Fernando Valley remains under construction.
Metro’s contractor, Kiewit Infrastructure West, has been conducting a series of nighttime northbound freeway closures — with more planned in the coming weeks — to get the entire lane through West L.A. and the Sepulveda Pass ready for prime time. So, for the time being, the new northbound carpool lane will ultimately convert back to a general purpose lane.
Carpoolers traveling on the existing northbound carpool lane prior to the I-10 freeway will notice new striping and “HOV Lane” signs for the very first time. For those keeping track, the southbound 405 carpool lane through the area was opened by Caltrans in 2007.
The addition of the carpool lane officially brings the total number of vehicle lanes on the northbound 405 to six. The project also added an extra auxiliary lane between the eastbound to northbound 10 freeway connectors and the Santa Monica Boulevard off-ramp. That’s an extra project benefit to help keep traffic moving as quickly as possible through this heavily traveled portion of the 405.
Metro, Caltrans and Kiewit anticipate the whole 10-mile stretch of new carpool lane will open sometime in late May. An exact opening date has not been finalized, but progress is clearly being made and the full lane opening is in sight. That should be music to the ears of every motorist who drives the 405 on a daily basis.