The demolition of a 50-year-old connector bridge is moving along so well that Caltrans plans to reopen a four-mile stretch of the southbound 405 Freeway in Orange County between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday, several hours ahead of schedule, officials said.
The construction work forced the shutdown, starting at 9 p.m. Saturday, of the 405 Freeway between the 605 and 22 freeways as well as the northbound 405 at Valley View Street.
David Richardson, a Caltrans spokesman, said that the northbound lanes of the 405 would reopen between 2 p.m. and 3 pm.
The last portion of the bridge was knocked down at 5:30 a.m., and steel plates placed on the freeway to protect the roadway from 3,600 tons of falling concrete were being removed, Davidson said. The concrete was being broken up, moved to the side of the roadway and hauled away.
Transportation officials had warned motorists to stay away or find alternative routes around the road closure. On Sunday morning, there were minimal traffic tie-ups reported, and detoured traffic on Westminster Avenue, Studebaker Road and Valley View Street seemed to be running smoothly.
The freeway closure, dubbed the “Bridge Bash,” was required to remove a bridge that connects the 405 and 22 freeways. Tearing down the bridge is part of a $277-million project to link carpool lanes of the 405, 22 and 605 freeways.
On an average summer weekend day, more than 300,000 vehicles zoom (or lurch) down the 405 between the 605 and 22 freeways.
To discourage curious onlookers from aggravating traffic conditions, the Orange County Transportation Authority said it would post updated photos of the demolition work on its blog and on Twitter (#BridgeBash).