Los Angeles

Traffic on 405 Freeway Got Worse Since Expansion Project, Study Shows

Transportation officials want to add toll lanes through the Sepulveda pass by 2028.

The 405 Freeway widening project may have helped ease traffic congestion in the short term, but over the past five years, traffic only got worse in the Sepulveda pass, a recent study shows.

The notorious 405 has long been known as the busiest freeway in the country, especially through the Sepulveda pass, which connects LA's West Side with the San Fernando Valley.

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"A lot of times, traffic just stops and you inch along," said Louise Spear, a commuter on the 405. "It can take an hour just to go a few miles."

Five years ago, transportation officials touted the taxpayer-funded billion-dollar 405 expansion project known as Carmageddon, which widened the freeway and added a carpool lane, as the solution.

The new study by traffic analyst Inrix shows traffic has actually gotten worse on all roads around Los Angeles, but especially through the Sepulveda Pass. The worst delays occur on the northbound 405 between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.

In 2015, the average speed was 28 mph. It's now dropped to 19 mph. While travel through the Sepulveda Pass used to take 23 minutes, it now takes 34.

The study shows that there are more vehicles overall on the roads, and making space for more drivers only encouraged more people to drive.

Transportation officials argue the project did make the 405 safer by widening lanes, and traffic would be even worse if nothing had been done.

"If you're driving everyday through the 405 on your own, you're part of the problem, not the solution."

Transportation officials promise help is on the way. They're considering adding toll lanes through the Sepulveda Pass, and there are plans to build a train system there, but that won't be done before 2028 at the earliest.

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