More “Elbow Room” on the 405 Coming Soon

LA Breaks Ground for a Northbound Carpool Lane

Go ahead, take up some more room - the 405 is about to get a little wider.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will break ground Friday afternoon for a new carpool lane on the 405 Freeway.  The new lane will stretch northbound from the Santa Monica 10 Freeway to the Ventura 101 Freeway and should be completed by 2013.

"Thank goodness," says Tyson Radtke, who commutes on the 405 every weekday for work.  He says it's bad.  "If it were any worse, traffic would be moving backwards."

There's no secret the 405 has a national reputation for backups.  For years the state of California had wanted to do something about it.  Up until this week, plans to install the HOV lane had stalled because of money.  But the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has stepped in, helping to alocate local and federal funds.  The total in the bank now is about $372 million and includes money from the federal stimulus package.  But it's only a fraction of the $1 billion-dollar price tag.

"I drive it to Calabassas every day on the 405," says Jen Ervin, "they have to find a way to pay for this, we need it bad."

Plans to move forward continue, though, with hopes that the state will be able to sell bonds to cover the remaining costs.  The current money can at least allow them to finish with Phase One which works on designs and utilities in advance of the construction.

"I don't look forward to breaking ground and having it under construction but it'll be great when it's done," Ervin added.

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