Some commuters are waking up earlier, carpooling and taking public transit to avoid three months of heavy Westside traffic predicted to accompany the closure of the 405 Freeway on- and off-ramps at Wilshire Boulevard. Still, most drivers, reluctant to give up their cars, are toughing it out and looking for shortcuts. Angie Crouch reports from West Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on June 25, 2012.
No major problems were reported Monday during the first weekday commute since work crews closed two ramps at Wilshire Boulevard for the 405 Freeway improvement project.
The two ramp closures -- onto westbound Wilshire from the 405 northbound, and to the northbound 405 from westbound Wilshire -- are part of a project that involves closing eight freeway ramps in the area. The first 90-day closure began Friday night.
Many commuters aren't happy, but they're taking it all in stride.
"You can get mad, but it doesn't do a lot of good," said John Bamberger.
"Some days it already takes an hour if there's traffic randomly, especially if the president is in town," said commuter Marla Jensen. " I can only imagine what's going to happen for the next three months."
The ramp closures are also having an impact on local businesses and their employees.
"Everybody is going around, there's no way to come through Wilshire," said Martha Guzman, a clerk at a Baskin Robbins ice cream shop.
Guzman said she's started taking the bus to get around the jams.
"We're supposed to have a nice summer, good sales, nice weather," said Paco Robles, an assistant manager at a 7-11 store. "But now for three months, shut down Wilshire, we're kind of expecting low sales."
The closures are part of the same freeway widening project that led to the closure of the 405 Freeway last July. Billed as "Carmageddon," few traffic problems were reported in connection with the closure.
The new ramps are designed to alleviate traffic congestion at Wilshire Boulevard. The ramp closures are known as "The Rampture," "Octojam" and "RampJam."
The other six ramps that comprise "Octojam" will be closed and rebuilt in phases.
It's all part of a project to add 10 miles of carpool lanes on the 405 between the 10 Freeway and 101 Freeway. The project is scheduled for completion next year.
Westbound Wilshire Boulevard on-ramp to the northbound 405: Travel northbound on Sepulveda Boulevard to the Moraga Drive on-ramp or southbound on Sepulveda Boulevard to the Santa Monica Boulevard on-ramp.
Northbound 405 off-ramp to westbound Wilshire Boulevard: Exit 405 using Santa Monica Boulevard off-ramp, then drive north on Sepulveda Boulevard to Wilshire Boulevard. Or take the the off-ramp at Sunset Boulevard. (map)
View 405 Freeway ramp closures in a larger map