Report: 405 Freeway drive times increase despite widening project

SHERMAN OAKS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Five years after widening the 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass, drive times have reportedly increased at all hours of the day.

It took years of construction and more than $1 billion to open a northbound carpool lane and widen 10 miles of the major freeway.

But since then, Curbed L.A. says drive times are longer, mostly because more drivers are on the road.

The findings are from USC Annenberg's Crosstown LA publication, whose team of researchers analyzed traffic on freeways throughout Los Angeles to get real commute times.

"Everybody has the impression that their commute is getting slower but we wanted to actually sort of put the math and science behind that and yes, indeed, we found that of the 52 different commutes that we examined, 31 of them got slower, some by quite a large margin," Gabriel Kahn, Crosstown LA editor.

Back to the 405, Caltrans says the improvement project added 15 percent capacity to the Sepulveda Pass, along with 10 additional miles of HOV lanes and several safety and intersection improvements, and that there is no question traffic would be far worse had the project not been completed. So what's the answer?

"I don't know if there's a solution. Maybe more people have to leave L.A.," laughed Sherman Oaks resident Monique Fah.

And what happened? How did commute times get worse?

"During construction, during two carmageddons, a lot of people had re-routed themselves, changed the way they got to work. As soon as the cranes and dump trucks left, everybody came back, the economy has improved, a lot of other factors have contributed to just increase the demand on that stretch," Kahn added.

The bright side of the study is that some freeways are moving faster, among them the 10 Freeway from Santa Monica to the 5 Freeway.

More than 300,000 drivers commute each day on the infamous thoroughfare - the busiest highway in the country which spans 72 miles throughout the Los Angeles area.
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