Carpool lane on North 405 Freeway opens

Friday, May 23, 2014
Drivers on the North 405 Freeway on Friday, May 23, 2014.
Drivers on the North 405 Freeway on Friday, May 23, 2014.

WESTWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The new carpool lane on the northbound 405 Freeway at the Sepulveda Pass opened Friday, prompting Los Angeles drivers to put Carmageddon and Ramp Jam in their rear view mirrors.

The opening of the lane comes just in time for Memorial Day weekend. Officials say drivers will notice a difference.

"We have about 15 percent of the freeway traffic already has multiple passengers in those vehicles so this gives them their own dedicated lane, and it gets those multiple-passenger vehicles out of the mixed-flow lanes, so that will improve the efficiency of the entire freeway," said David Sotero with Metro.

The new 10-mile stretch of the carpool lane is part of a 70-mile route from Orange County to the San Fernando Valley.

The development of the new lane has been a four-year long, billion-dollar journey. It twice prompted the freeway to be closed, coining the terms Carmageddon, Jamzilla and Ramp Jam. An entire bridge also had to be torn down and rebuilt.

The timing of the opening is Metro's gift to the public, Sotero said.

"It's our gift to the public and our thank you for their patience and understanding while we've done this very difficult work in a very tight corridor," he said.

Contractors will still be doing work on the freeway, like striping the road and electrical work on the ramps. Officials say there will be intermittent closures that will mainly take place overnight.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.