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UGH: 405 Widening Project Will Take a Year Longer and $100M More To Finish

Photo of workers reviewing plans for "Carmageddon" in July 2011 on the 405 Freeway by noeltykay via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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Remember the good ol' days of 2011, when the first "Carmageddon" ended 16 hours early, and everyone was patting themselves on the back for the great milestone in the 405 Freeway widening project? Fast forward to now, when it turns out the whole works is going to take a year longer and $100 million more than planned to finish.


Transportation officials revealed the bad news this week, according to the L.A. Times.

So when will the nightmare of construction zones and frequent lane and ramp closure end? Brace yourselves, drivers:

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Officials now aim to complete the bulk of the project by June 2014, with work on the problematic middle segment between Montana Avenue and Sunset Boulevard lasting perhaps until next fall, according to Michael Barbour, the veteran engineer overseeing the project for the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. [Contracting firm] Kiewit has said "it could go as far as September," Barbour said, "but we think we're ahead of that."

Yeah, we'll take that "ahead" with a grain of salt now, thank you very much.

There's far less back-patting and high-fiving about the project now. Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board member Zev Yaroslavsky doesn't pull any punches when he calls out the contractors, saying:

"This project has been horribly managed [...] The performance of contractors has left a lot to be desired. … They've shown a complete lack of sensitivity and empathy for the community in which they're doing the work."

Oh, and another problem: Metro hasn't quite figured out how they're going to come up with the extra money, says Yaroslavsky.

Kiewit defended themselves Wednesday in a statement, putting the blame on "the project's overall complexity and the significant challenges associated with multiple unexpected utility and right-of-way issues." Metro backed them up, saying "some of the problems, such as the utility lines and legal issues over where ramps should be placed, were out of the contractor's control."

Not to load on more bad news, but over at LA Observed, the 405 project's prolonged completion has brought up another concern: How bad it's going to be to get that subway extended out to the sea. "Extending the subway line is certain to be far more complicated and disruptive," says LAO, noting it's going to make L.A. "a city virtually held hostage for the next three decades."

At the end of the day, if the 405 is part of your commute, it's going to be over a year now until that drive gets you to the end of your day more efficiently, as promised.

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