Free ways

The first time I heard the term “Sepulveda pass,” I thought it was a medical procedure. I mean, 405I was still new to The Coast, and sepulveda sounded like one of those oddball body parts, like uvula or something. (Not speaking of which, I no longer have an uvula. No idea why. It used to be there, but now it’s gone. Strange.)

Anyway, Carmageddon is going on right now, and the Sepulveda pass, a section of the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles, is shut down. My fave links on the matter so far are here, here and here. One of which is that to which Tony Pierce points.

It’ll all be over on Monday. When it comes to fixing freeways, L.A. doesn’t fuck around. No ‘fence, but the Bay Area does.

We had a controlled study of the difference with a pair of earthquakes. In 1989 the Loma Prieta quake dropped a hunk of freeway (called the Cypress Structure) in Oakland, plus a piece of the Bay Bridge. It also damaged several freeways in San Francisco, including the Embarcadero Freeway and the 101-280 interchange. So, what did they do? They got rid of the Embarcadero and the Cypress Structure, took more than a few days to fix the Bay Bridge… and then took years to fix the 101-280 interchange. Years. Lots of them. Meanwhile, when the Northridge quake dropped a hunk of the Santa Monica Freeway in Los Angeles, they got the thing back up in a month or something. (If I have time later I’ll add the links. Right now I’m in Florence, where traffic is Cuissinart of pedestrians, motorcycles, taxis, bicycles and stubby busses. Kind of like the rest of urban Italy, only with a higher ratio of tourists to everything else.)

By the way, the best video you’ll ever see about The 405 is called 405, and was done in 2000 by Bruce Branit and Jeremy Hunt, who also stars in it. The whole thing is just three minutes long, and it’s perfect. Especially right now. Dig.


  1. Lockwood’s avatar

    Thanks so much for posting a link to that clip- Ebert (and whoever at the time) played maybe 30 seconds or so of it when it came out, pre-YouTube. I couldn’t recall the name, though I’ve tried tracking it down several times.

  2. John Wilbanks’s avatar

    I always find various SoCal names to sound medical. Encinitas, for example, sounded like something one would catch swimming in the wrong lake.

  3. Hanan Cohen’s avatar

    Top Gear, a BBC car show, landed a real helicopter on the roof of a real car. Watch it here, from minute 5.

  4. Brent Ashley’s avatar

    The disappearance of your uvula means that you’re starting to become one with the technology that surrounds you. It’s the first step towards ‘the Uvularity’

  5. Flip’s avatar

    “It’ll all be over on Monday. When it comes to fixing freeways, L.A. doesn’t fuck around. No ‘fence, but the Bay Area does.”

    Note that this is only half the project on removing the bridge.

    In 11 months, they have to shut the 405 down all over again to finish the second half of the project.

    You didn’t think it was all being completed in a weekend did you?

  6. Paul Bouzide’s avatar

    “Take the Slauson Cutoff and cut off your slauson”

Comments are now closed.