The $1 billion I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project is four to six months behind schedule, Metro officials said this week.
Speaking Thursday night at community meeting at the Westwood Recreation Center, Metro Community Relations Manager Kasey Shuda said completion of the project is now anticipated for December 2013—not May 2013 as initially projected.
The main factor contributing to the slow-down was the contractor used the wrong materials when building retaining walls, all of which had to be reconstructed, Shuda said.
Proposed ramp closures, traffic light synchronization, gridlock on and around Sunset Boulevard and blinding light from the freeway construction were among the topics touched on during a Q&A between city officials and roughly 40 Westside residents at the meeting.
Pacific Palisades resident Paul Cudney—who described sitting in traffic jams along Sunset Boulevard while commuting home—called Thursday's meeting a delightful surprise. Previous community meetings about the project seemed to polarized Westside residents and city officials, he said.
"I have seen more evidence of working together at this meeting," he said. "The project seems to be listening more to community issues and the community seems to be giving more suggestions than demands."
He said his one concern are bright 5,000-kilowatt construction lights on Sepulveda Boulevard that stay on as late as 11 p.m.
Cori Solomon, president of the Brentwood Glen Association, said access in and out of her neighborhood is a continuing problem. She also cited trouble turning onto Barrington Avenue from Sunset and traveling on Rockingham Avenue. Plus, there's bumper-to-bumper traffic on Church Lane, she said.
Solomon noted she's not looking forward to a 14-day closure of Wilshire Boulevard ramps that's scheduled to start Dec. 29. However, she too came out of the meeting with a positive outlook. "This has been one of the best meetings," she said.
Pacific Palisades resident Brian Panosian asked that traffic signal synchronizations along Sunset Boulevard be extended. Specifically, he wants the longer 125 seconds to get through intersections rather than 75 seconds.
"I only have so many pieces of pie to divide," a Department of Transportation official responded, meaning each direction needs to be given time to get through intersections.
Panosian said driving Sunset has gotten better now that it's wider with four lanes on each side. "The major issues have gone away," he said.
Panosian and Solomon said Metro, Caltrans and other government officials were making decisions at the start of the project without talking to the community first, but since then have made efforts forge a partnership with residents.
Some notes from Metro:
- Sepulveda Way remains closed while wall work continues just north of Sunset and while utilities are relocated on Sepulveda just north of Sepulveda Way, Shuda said.
- The northbound Sunset on-ramp is scheduled to open in spring 2013. It will be closed for 120 days while the new ramp is reconstructed.
- Day and night work continues on Sepulveda between Montana Avenue and Church Lane. This area is where construction work started first, and it is where crews will finish last. The contractor has built soundwalls in the backyards of affected homeowners and the frequent nightly closures of Sepulveda help the crews expedite work in this area.
- The Wilshire segment support work and ramp work has begun. Crews are constructing a total of 23 bridges for the entire I-405 project and almost half are part of the Wilshire segment. Some upcoming closures will affect the connector at the I-10/Exposition Boulevard.
- Retaining-wall construction in Sherman Oaks continues, with freeway widening and soundwall reconstruction happening in early December.
- Drainage work, bridge abutment and Skirball ramp work is anticipated in late December through early January.
For more information, call the project hotline at 213-922-3665 or visit Metro's website.