Friday, July 22, 2011
Engineers and Construction Workers Step Up to the Challenge
Reston, VA — The plan was to have a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 405 in Los Angeles shut down for 53 hours for a road-improvement project in one of the most car-infested regions in the world. There were traffic nightmare predictions for what was dubbed, “Carmageddon.” Despite the dismal forecast, the outcome was overall victorious.
“Congratulations to the nation’s second-largest city for proactively addressing the transportations needs of the community.” said Pat Natale, executive director of the American Society of Civil Engineers. “These road improvements will enable Los Angeles to provide better safety and security for its citizens who can no longer afford to ignore the congested roads and deficient bridges that they utilize every day.”
Engineers and local officials have been planning the bridge renovations that took place this weekend for more than a year. The city officials worked together and provided a timely and clear communications to increase public awareness of the construction and encourage avoidance of the affected area. The Metro system offered free subway rides under the Hollywood Hills, JetBlue reduced fares between the Burbank and Long Beach airports and residents and visitors were cautioned to stay off the freeway.
The 405 freeway is one of the main traffic arteries in Los Angeles. The affected stretch, running from Interstate 10, the Santa Monica Freeway, to Highway 101, the Ventura Freeway, is traveled by an estimated 500,000 vehicles on a typical weekend, including countless Bay Area residents heading into the city for vacation.
Another 53-hour closure will be required in the future for more demolition. The existing bridge is 72 feet wide and 579 feet long. The new bridge will be 82 feet wide and 608 feet long with supporting columns relocated to allow construction of an additional freeway lane. The construction and expansion will enhance transportation for commuters in the area.
Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 140,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America’s oldest national engineering society.