For Ventura Freeway motorists lulled into complacency by a year of nearly gridlock-free freeway construction in the West San Fernando Valley, the real test is about to begin.
On Monday, state Department of Transportation crews will open two freeway bypass routes in Woodland Hills, signaling the start of what is potentially the most disruptive phase of the 16-month widening project.
Over the next four months, all freeway pavement in the vicinity of Valley Circle Boulevard at the Woodland Hills-Calabasas border will be torn out and replaced.
And while the demolition and repaving is under way, all six lanes of the freeway will be squeezed together on one side of the median for two months, and then on the other side for the remaining two months.
To offset the anticipated slowing effect of compressing six lanes into space designed for three, Caltrans hopes to lure motorists bound for Warner Center and the eastern portion of Calabasas off the freeway and onto the detours.