It isn't Christmas, but commuters in the Sepulveda Pass will get a nice present tomorrow when a long-awaited 10-mile carpool lane opens on the northbound San Diego (405) Freeway.
The carpool lane between the Santa Monica (10) and Ventura (101) freeways is the cornerstone of the $1 billion-plus Sepulveda Pass improvement project, which has been highlighted by a pair of full freeway closures dubbed "Carmageddon."
"People in this part of town have put up with a lot, and it's finally time for the public to begin experiencing one of the major benefits of this project," county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said.
Officials with Metro -- which is overseeing the construction project -- said the lane closes the last remaining gap in the 405 Freeway carpool network. When the lane opens between 4 and 5 a.m. Friday, carpooling commuters will be able to stay in the lane from Orange County through the Sepulveda Pass.
The opening of the lane will not mark the end of the Sepulveda Pass project, which has also included the reconstruction of bridges over the 405 Freeway, the addition of soundwalls and redesign of the often-congested interchange at Wilshire Boulevard. But the carpool lane is the biggest accomplishment and primary goal of the project.
"It is terrific to finally see this project come together," Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Sherman Oaks, said. "Valley residents are long overdue for traffic improvements, and the new northbound lane will relieve some of the busiest traffic through the Sepulveda Pass."
According to Metro, 300,000 vehicles a day travel through the Sepulveda Pass. That number is expected to increase to 430,000 by 2030.
--City News Service