Ventura exit to re-open early

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals Craig Buck, chairman of the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council’s transportation committee, said e-mails have been pouring in from neighbors who got wind of the upcoming opening. “People were just totally delighted,” he said. “It’s just been a pain for the neighborhood – not just because we can’t get off in the neighborhood, but because it’s just made traffic so horrendous everywhere else as people try to find alternatives. “Everyone’s very excited about it reopening.” State Department of Transportation officials are expected to announce the re-opening at a news conference Monday. Caltrans spokeswoman Judy Gish said the ramp would open by Thanksgiving, but she could not specify which day. “The fact that the Ventura Boulevard off-ramp will be open before Thanksgiving Day is definitely something to be thankful for,” she said. “This is just in time for the holiday season, which is very welcome news for everyone in the area.” While the Ventura exit is opening about one month early, there are still two years of construction left the project. The 101-405 interchange carries more than 500,000 commuters a day and is consistently listed as the most congested in the nation. Caltrans launched the redesign after a series of Daily News stories in 1997 suggested solutions to the mounting gridlock. Already, the state has built an auxiliary lane on the northbound 405 into the Valley and widened the connector to the eastbound 101 Freeway to reduce bottlenecks. The current phase got under way in April when Caltrans shut down the Ventura Boulevard exit – which carries motorists to Greenleaf Street/Sepulveda Boulevard – and two other ramps southeast of the interchange. Prior to the closures, motorists entered the freeway from Greenleaf, then quickly crossed multiple lanes to get to the northbound 405 – a situation that caused countless collisions. Construction crews are building separate on-ramps at Greenleaf, one for motorists entering the 101 and the other – an underpass – for those heading to the 405. They’ll also extend Dickens Street to Ventura Boulevard, creating a shortcut between the boulevard and the ramps. The ramp to the 101 is expected to open in late summer 2006. The ramp to the 405 is expected to open in summer 2007. Caltrans hopes the rest of the project can finish on or ahead of schedule. The contractor is eligible for a $1.2 million bonus if work is done early or on time, and faces fines of up to $18,500 for each day work is late. Already, the contractor has earned about $600,000 for getting the Ventura Boulevard exit opened early. “Construction is always a pain; however, I want the public to be patient with us,” said Caltrans senior transportation engineer Jagdish Patel. “Caltrans is always working hard with contractors so we can save each and every day, so we can finish on schedule or ahead of schedule.” The general manager of the Sherman Oaks Galleria praised Caltrans for getting the ramp open in time for holiday shopping. “We were so excited to hear it,” said Katherine DeFevere, noting the shopping center’s traffic had dipped slightly during the closure. “This is a necessary project that enjoys community support,” added longtime Encino resident Gerald Silver. “The sooner the project opens, the better. We’re hopeful the rest of the project goes well and is completed ahead of schedule.” Lisa Mascaro, (818) 713-3761 lisa.mascaro@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Much to the relief of San Fernando Valley commuters, the Ventura Boulevard exit from the northbound 405 Freeway is scheduled to open this week, about a month ahead of schedule. The off-ramp has been closed for seven months as part of Caltrans’ $46 million reconstruction of the 101-405 interchange – the nation’s busiest – forcing motorists to drive miles out of their way as they headed to Sherman Oaks or Encino. “That’s good news,” said Bruce Ackerman, president and CEO of the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley. “They really did that thing in good time. That’s rapid for them. I really think they’re trying to be focused on getting the work done, getting it opened … which is again to their credit.” last_img

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