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405 Freeway: Elon Musk offers his own cash to speed up construction

Construction is seen on the I-405 Freeway during a widening project.
April 25, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Entrepreneur Elon Musk, who made billions as a cofounder of Tesla Motors, PayPal and SpaceX, is offering to spend his own money if needed to speed up the pace of the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Widening Project.

Musk recently gave $50,000 to an advocacy group called Angelenos Against Gridlock.

"The reality is we don't have to reinvent the wheel, cities around the world have tackled this, there's no reason we can't build ourselves out of this gridlock mess," said David Murphy, co-founder of Angelenos Against Gridlock.

The 405 Widening Project is running more than a year behind schedule, and is nearly $100 million over budget.

County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky says he's livid at contractor Kiewit Construction.

"This is the contractor's responsibility and I think, frankly, the contractor is in a little bit over his head on this project," he said.

The project won't to be finished until at least next year at a cost of $1.1 billion, after multiple delays.

"We've had additional utility relocation work, we've had challenges acquiring the right of ways on federal properties," said MTA spokesman Dave Sotero.

The MTA is asking a frustrated public for patience.

"The contractor is already working at its peak, we're 3 years into this so they already have a very clear idea of what they need to do," Sotero said.

Tom Janssen, a Kiewit Construction spokesperson, released a statement Friday:

"The costs and schedule impacts are the result of the project's overall complexity and the significant challenges associated with multiple unexpected utility and right-of-way issues. Kiewit and Metro are committed to working together to minimize future delays and resolve final costs. We value our relationship Metro and are committed to delivering the highest-quality product on the I-405 project. It is important to note the project successes that reflect our commitment to minimizing the impacts on the traveling public.

  • 405 closures ("Carmageddon I and II") opened much earlier than required
  • Demolition and rebuild of two bridges 20 days earlier than required
  • Southbound 405 off-ramp at Wilshire opened in one week instead of the allowed two weeks
  • Recent 405 Northbound closure completed 29 hours early."

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