Is closing the 405 Freeway really necessary?


There was at least one alternate plan that some say could have saved $10 million in construction costs and would require the 405 to be closed just once.

See a live cam shot of the Mulholland Bridge construction site.

"It looked like an option that could have potentially saved us money, gone a little bit faster. But it was not what was originally intended so we had to go back, we had to talk to the communities," said Doug Falling, the executive director of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

That plan called for a new bridge to be built along the existing bridge, then the old one would have been demolished.

"It would have still required a closure, maybe not as severe as this because maybe we could have staged it different," said Michael Miles of Caltrans. "We certainly would have torn it all down at one time so it wouldn't have required two closures."

The alternate plan was opposed by property owners and neighborhood groups. Some worried it wouldn't match the look of the neighborhood. It also meant new environmental impact reports and possibly lawsuits. It could have delayed the project for years.

"Delaying the project would have cost far more than what we could have gained by just proceeding ahead with the original plan," Falling said.

Harriet Fink, who lives in Bel Air, said despite residents' opposition, she thinks that the MTA and Caltrans should have gone through with the alternate plan because it could have been less expensive and less intrusive.

"I went to every meeting and looked at all the plans and they selected the plan that they wanted. God only knows why," she said.

The 53-hour closure begins at 7 p.m. Friday and ends at 6 a.m. Monday.

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