If you thought Carmageddon was bad, get ready for a whole lot worse. "Octojam" is upon us.
Eight freeway ramps leading between Wilshire Boulevard and the San Diego (405) Freeway will be closed and demolished over the next year, with the first two ramps closed for 90 days on Friday night.
The two initial ramp closures -- on to westbound Wilshire from the 405 northbound, and to the northbound 405 from westbound Wilshire -- had begun by 10 p.m. Friday.
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Those crucial connections are at the cloverleaf intersection of the nation's most heavily trafficked freeway with one of Los Angeles' busiest boulevards.
Some are calling the planned shutdowns "The Rampture," "Rampjam" or "Octojam."
The ramps are being shut down for the same $1 billion freeway widening project – a joint effort of Metro and Caltrans – that prompted the closure of the 405 last July in a much-hyped shutdown billed as Carmageddon.
New ramps, depicted in a Metro graphic below at right, are intended to alleviate notorious and sometimes dangerous traffic conflicts at the freeway's interchange with Wilshire Boulevard, according to Metro's page on the ramp reconstruction.
The project's extended construction period isn't welcome, but residents and business owners in Westwood said they are happy to see the freeway ramps get an upgrade.
The overall project will add a 10-mile carpool lane between The Santa Monica (10) Freeway and the Ventura (101) Freeway. It is expected to be complete next year.
The two initial ramp closures and suggested detours are:
- 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. (map)
- 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)
Restriping and lane reconfiguration work was done overnight Thursday, while the two ramps didn't close until Friday, according to Metro spokesman Dave Sotero.
During the initial demolition activity, a portion of Sepulveda Boulevard was set to be closed from Wilshire Boulevard to Montana Avenue. Two lanes in each direction on Wilshire Boulevard will be closed from Veteran Avenue to Federal Avenue.
Those sections of Sepulveda and Wilshire will be closed during the following periods, according to a Metro notice: from 10 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday; from 10 p.m. Friday to 11 a.m. Saturday; from 10 p.m. Saturday to 11 a.m. Sunday; and from 8 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday.
A closure schedule for work related to the other six freeway ramps will be announced in future.
Traffic officers were slate to be initially staffed at the location to keep traffic flowing, and electronic message signs will explain detours. All detours are on major roadways; motorists are advised not to cut through the area on nearby residential streets.
Commuters who must travel through the area are advised to plan ahead, carpool and select their detour routes in advance, Metro said.
Metro even suggested workers in the area ask their employers if shift times could be changed to avoid traveling at peak traffic times.
View 405 Freeway ramp closures in a larger map