I-405 Sepulveda Improvements Project extended for another year


The ambitious project adds 10 miles of carpool lanes to the 405, widening the freeway and replacing three bridges.

But the Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project is running into the construction version of a SigAlert, one that will add a whole year to the expected completion date.

The problem, according to LA County Metro officials, is the complex tangle of utilities found beneath Sepulveda Boulevard: a series of gas pipes, sewers and electrical lines that can run as deep as 40 feet below street level.

"There's about 17 different types of utilities underneath Sepulveda Boulevard, so as a result we're looking at opening that part of the project in mid-2014," said Metro spokesman Dave Sotero.

But people who've been inconvenienced by the now three-year-old project say the construction company doing the work needs to keep the roadwork on schedule.

"Enough is enough," said David Murphy, founder and president of Angelenos Against Gridlock. "It's time for Kiewit, the contractor, to speed up their pace of work and just get this project done."

Murphy says excuses are doing little to improve the commute of the more than 330,000 people who move through the Sepulveda Pass every day.

"The reality is there are those kind of things on every project," said Murphy. "And you've got to just find ways to speed things up. Thirteen months of delays on parts of this just don't work for commuters."

But come Friday night, many of those commuters will see even more delays. The latest phase of the project will reduce the five northbound lanes of the 405 down to just two. It's a 2.5-mile stretch from Montana Avenue to Getty Center Drive, with the lanes scheduled to be closed through early Monday morning.

"Motorists will have the option of continuing on those two lanes over the Sepulveda Pass or diverting onto Sepulveda and bypassing that area," said Sotero.

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