Maintenance Capitalizes On Work During the I-405 Closure
District 7 maintenance crews accomplish several weeks worth of work in just two days.
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One has to imagine what it is like to work within just a few feet of thousands of vehicles flying by: the noise and wind, the debris… and the risk.
Now imagine if those thousands of vehicles are removed, well, that’s what it is like working within a large closure like the one that occurred during the demolition of the I-405 Mulholland Bridge.
Similar to 2011, the closure of I-405 between the Santa Monica Freeway (I-10) and Ventura Freeway (US 101) for the demolition of a bridge was met with much fanfare. But in 2012, the media, politicians, and the public also noticed how Caltrans maintenance crews capitalized on the opportunity to spruce up I-405.
“Some called the closure Carmeggedon II, but at Caltrans we call it opportunity,” said District 7 Director Michael Miles. “We were to be able to complete almost seven weeks of maintenance work within 48 hours.”
Beginning the first night of the closure on Friday, September 28 until mid-afternoon on Sunday, September 30 Caltrans maintenance crews could be seen working busily throughout the closure . Striping crews sprayed new lane lines. Tree crews trimmed trees and shrubbery. Road crews repaired badly damaged slabs and bridge joints. Sign crews installed new reflective signs. And much more.
At the completion of the closure, 149 crew members, with the assistance of community service workers, had removed 32 truckloads of debris and litter, striped 40 lane-miles, replaced 35 lane-miles of raised pavement markers, trimmed trees, spruced up landscaping, sealed cracks and filled potholes, cleaned out 160 culverts and drains, repaired bridge decks and repaired damage on eight bridges caused by over-height vehicles striking the bridges.
“It would have cost $838,000 if this work would have been done over seven weeks, but we did that much work within 48 hours,” said Acting Deputy District 7 Director of Maintenance Herby Lissade. “We were able to save approximately $200,000.”
Many of the maintenance activities that took place during the closure are never seen by most motorists or even by many Caltrans employees. But these duties are a necessity to ensure the safety and operation of the state highway system.
“Opportunities like these afford us the ability to work on the freeway without having to disrupt traffic, thereby increasing the safety of motorists and our personnel,” said Miles. “It is very rare for our crews to have such a large window of time. Usually we have to close lanes and even connector roads.”
Maintenance deployed the Satellite Communications (SATCOM) trailer to allow personnel to gain practical experience. SATCOM, a tool generally used for emergencies, was used as mobile central command unit to provide communications and organizational support for maintenance activities. The unit has mobile remote cameras, wifi, computer stations, radios, meeting space, and restrooms.
At the completion of the demolition, the contractor ensured the roadway was clear near the demolished bridge. Before the onslaught of waiting vehicles was allowed to travel through the Sepulveda Pass, Caltrans and the CHP led the motorcade on northbound I-405. With Caltrans amber lights flashing, the CHP’s blue, yellow, and red lights flashing and their sirens blasting, the spruced up road was opened just after 10 p.m. on Sunday, September 30.