(CNS) L.A. today began its first work week of "Rampture'' - the three-month closure of the westbound Wilshire Boulevard onramp to the northbound San Diego (405) Freeway and the northbound 405's offramp to westbound Wilshire.
The ramps were closed Friday night in the first phase of a yearlong effort to demolish and rebuild all eight ramps at the interchange. They are to be replaced with ramps designed to reduce traffic jams and dangerous lane-weaving. The work is part of a project to add a 10-mile carpool lane to the 405 through the Sepulveda Pass.
The ramp closures are proving to be a source of anxiety for thousands of commuters scrambling to find alternate routes to and from the Westside, and residents of Westwood and Brentwood who expect that already congested routes - Sepulveda, Santa Monica and Sunset boulevards, for example - will experience even worse traffic jams.
The Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles campus has advised employees to allow twice as much time as usual for commuting, the Los Angeles Times reported. To reduce cut-through traffic and help ensure access for emergency vehicles, the campus plans to close its gates on Eisenhower and Gorham avenues.
UCLA has urged employees to telecommute, work alternative hours and carpool, bike or walk, according to The Times. And Blair House, a Westwood condo building on Wilshire, has agreed to subsidize monthly bus passes for its employees and caregivers, housekeepers and other workers employed by residents.
On Friday night, two of eight of the Wilshire Boulevard on and off ramps to the I-405 were shut down as demolition got underway This is part of the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project, and no other intersection needs more improvement than the Wilshire Boulevard/I-405 interchange. Drivers are merging on and off on a heavily congested Wilshire which creates hours of delay each year.
The first two ramps to close:
Ramp 1: The I-405 off-ramp to Westbound Wilshire
Ramp 2: Westbound Wilshire on-ramp to The I-405 North
Each series of ramp closures will be shut down every 90 days. All eight ramps are expected to be completed in at least a year. The ramps were built in the '50s and need to be up to speed with earthquake standards of today.
In FOX 11's interviews with Metro's Dave Sotero and Westside City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, Rosendahl thinks traffic will be widely impacted on city streets and the 405 from LAX to the San Fernando Valley. Sotero thinks there will be a wide ripple effect on city streets, but not so sure about the I-405.
Westwood Village restaurant manager Andrew Clinco is concerned about reduced business and is working with his staff of 50 to get about half of them on a group bus for their commute.
More info can be found at: Metro.net/405