LA Metro looking for millions of dollars to complete 405 freeway widening project

The Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project has forced some temporary shutdowns of the 405.
The Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project has forced some temporary shutdowns of the 405.
Grant Slater/KPCC

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L.A. County transit officials are looking for about $78 million to finish work on the 405 freeway widening project.  Various problems had pushed the $1 billion Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project about $100 million over budget.  

Dave Sotero is a spokesman for the LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. He says the agency has already gotten some of the extra money it needs.

"We have already secured $26 million in additional funding that was provided by a Caltrans project that did not need the money and would have lost that money had it not been reallocated to this project," said Sotero.  
That still leaves Metro about $78 million short. Sotero says the agency will look to local and state sources for help.

The project is widening the 405, rebuilding on and off-ramps, and extending the northbound carpool lane. 

Sotero says some of the extra cost is a result of improvements to the 405 corridor.
"The good news is that we will be able to make some of those [improvements] during construction," he said.  "They added value to the project but they did add of course time and costs."   
Metro officials say added improvements include new utility lines that will remain useful for the next 50 years.  
But that's only part of the story. Since construction started three years ago, a variety of problems have delayed work and added to the project's cost.  For example, there have been fights over rights-of-way, and defective materials caused more than a dozen retaining walls to crumble.
Developers reportedly haven't figured out yet how much of the extra costs taxpayers will have to pick up, if any.  Leaders are trying to figure out why the project has run over budget.
Metro now says it will finish the job by June of next year.