Los Angeles' best-known boulevard will have a bigger, better span across the city's busiest freeway when the eight-lane Sunset Boulevard bridge reopens Monday.
The bridge linking Brentwood to Bel-Air had been six lanes and, at times, construction has had it squeezed down to one lane in each direction to accommodate road crews working on the final leg of what will be 48 miles of carpool lane on the northbound side of the San Diego (405) Freeway, running from Orange County to the Ventura (101) Freeway in Sherman Oaks.
The reopening of the wider, taller and seismically upgraded Sunset Boulevard Bridge -- set for 6 a.m. Monday -- comes just a week before Carmageddon II, the full closure of the 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass, to accommodate the replacement of the Mulholland Drive bridge.
The overall carpool lane project will cost roughly $1 billion, Metro officials said. Work on the Sunset Boulevard bridge started in July 2010.
The new bridge -- about 30 feet wider and 5 feet higher -- is expected to log about 22,000 crossings on a typical weekday, according to Metro and state Department of Transportation officials. Each direction will have its own turning lane.
"Everybody's glad," Cori Solomon, president of the Brentwood Glen Association, told the Los Angeles Times. "What we're hoping is it will alleviate some of the traffic on Sunset Boulevard because it will be wider."
Starting about 10 p.m. Friday, road crews will start closing the 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass, severing the main artery carrying traffic between the San Fernando Valley and the Westside. The freeway is scheduled to stay closed until about 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 1.