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Widening plan approved for 405 Freeway

April 24, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Construction is expected to begin this summer on a $1 billion construction project to widen a 10-mile stretch of the 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board approved the highway project on Thursday.A carpool lane will be added to the northbound 405 Freeway from the 10 Freeway to the 101 Freeway. The construction includes 18 miles of retaining and sound walls. Bridges will also be replaced along the route.

The MTA Board is gambling that it will be able to put together funding for the project. Right now, MTA has $372 million of the $1.03 billion needed for construction. MTA staff says that's enough to keep work on the project going for about 18 months.

Most of the funding is expected to come from state and federal sources, including $730 million in state transportation bond money that has been withheld due to the state's financial crisis.

MTA Board staff admits that it's risky to begin the project without all the funding in place, but they say waiting to start could cost Metro $189.9 million in federal stimulus funds allocated for the project.

"It's too important to this region and the jobs it creates are too important," said Doug Failing, a nonvoting MTA board member appointed by the governor.

The project is expected to create thousands of much needed jobs in Southern California.

A contract to design and build the project had been awarded to Kiewit Pacific Co.

City News Service contributed to this story.