It's the "Bridge Bash" and despite the name, it won't be a party for drivers. The I-405 Freeway will close between the I-605 Freeway and Valley View Street in Westminster starting at 9 p.m. on Saturday. The closure will last through 5 p.m. on Sunday, to allow crews to demolish a bridge. (See map below.)
Joel Zlotnik, a spokesman with the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), said that destroying a stretch of freeway isn’t nearly as dramatic as it sounds.
“This isn’t going to look like a Hollywood production," Zlotnik said. "There’s no big explosion, in fact, there’s no explosives used at all."
Instead, work crews will be using equipment called "breakers" to slowly chip away at the bridge, letting the debris fall onto the freeway below. This stretch will be covered with steel plates to protect it from being damaged. The cement rubble that's collected from the demolition will be recycled and used in other parts of the larger, construction project.
"Bridge Bash" is part of the West County Connectors project, a $277 million effort that spans 6-miles and multiple cities in the Southland. Transit authorities say it will improve traffic flow by connecting carpool lanes on the highly trafficked I-405, I-605 and state Route 22 freeways, while also adding a second carpool lane to the I-405 between SR-22 and I-605. Other improvements include rebuilding freeway exits, on-ramps and improving "aesthetic elements."
According to transit officials, the I-405 near the border of Orange and L.A. counties is one of the most heavily trafficked highways in the country. An average of about 370,000 vehicles travel through this area each day, with weekend traffic diminishing only slightly.
OCTA is working on this project with Caltrans, who will be taking advantage of the closure to do some general maintenance of the area including weed abatement and median drainage.
Although transportation officials recommend staying clear of the construcion, if you need to travel through the area, check OCTA's website for a complete list of detours.