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101 Freeway closed overnight as crews demolish pedestrian bridge at Encino Avenue

Commuters heading through Los Angeles will be forced to seek alternate routes if they’re planning an overnight drive over the weekend, as all lanes of the 101 Freeway will be closed overnight Saturday and into Sunday morning for construction. 

All lanes between White Oak Avenue and Balboa Boulevard will be closed beginning at 10 p.m. Saturday night, lasting until 10 a.m. Sunday morning as crews demolish the pedestrian bridge that extends over the freeway at Encino Avenue. 

“Caltrans is permanently removing the overcrossing to eliminate its nonstandard vertical clearance,” officials said in a statement.

Though the destruction of the bridge will inevitably lead to delays and traffic, it’s a project long overdue for Encino and valley residents who regularly pass by the pedestrian bridge.

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“When this thing started, it was an incentive for me to live a long life. Because I’m just 84-years-old and I was going to make it until this darn bridge came down,” Marshall Barth said.  

Transportation officials told CBSLA Reporter Jasmine Viel that the Encino Avenue Bridge is deteriorating and no longer meets the height requirement for trucks. 

Caltrans officials have advised drivers to seek alternate routes by following detour signs to exit at Balboa, Victory or Ventura Boulevards. 

The following ramps are also set to close:

  • Reseda Boulevard onramp to southbound U.S. 101,
  • White Oak Avenue onramp to southbound U.S. 101,
  • Balboa Boulevard onramp to southbound U.S. 101,
  • Haskell Avenue onramp to northbound U.S. 101,
  • Southbound Interstate 405 connector to northbound U.S. 101,
  • Northbound Interstates 405 connector to northbound U.S. 101.

They also warned that three lanes heading in each direction may be subject to an early closure starting 10 p.m. Friday evening, running through 10 a.m. Saturday. Two of the five lanes would however remain open for traffic should this occur. 

Those living near the area were warned that they may experience some nuisance from the ongoing operation in the form of loud noises, vibration and dust. 

While some residents are happy that the bridge, which has been the site of pollution and homelessness, will be destroyed, they aren’t happy about how much the project will cost tax payers. 

“There isn’t enough foot traffic to warrant spending $20 million. That is crazy. The thing is we have Louise Avenue, which is a safe way to get across the freeway,” community leader Janie Thompson said.

Additionally, residents and community advocates said Caltrans needs to also tear down a nearly identical pedestrian bridge located a mile away at Amestoy Avenue and Killion Street because of the same safety concerns. 

Source: CBS News

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