LOS ANGELES — In addition to providing free rides on the Orange, Red and Purple lines, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Tuesday announced that it will make 26 additional Metro bus lines free in an effort to avoid complete gridlock on the Westside during the upcoming weekend closure of a section of Interstate 405.

The MTA announced that it will offer free fares on bus lines along major Westside and San Fernando arteries, including buses along Venice, Wilshire, Santa Monica and Sunset boulevards.

A rapid bus connecting the San Fernando Valley and Westwood along Sepulveda Boulevard and east-west routes throughout the Valley will also be free.

Metro is the lead agency on the project to remove part of the historic Mulholland Bridge during the weekend of July 16-17.

The northbound 405 Freeway will be closed for a 10-mile stretch between the Santa Monica (10) Freeway and the Ventura (101) Freeway. The southbound freeway will be closed for four miles between the 101 and Getty Center Drive.

The bridge demolition is part of a $1 billion effort to widen the 405 freeway through the Sepulveda Pass and upgrade the freeway to better withstand earthquakes.

The stretch of highway is one of the busiest in the nation, with an estimated 500,000 vehicles on a typical summer weekend.

“Metro will closely monitor traffic congestion on all routes in the I-405 construction area and will make needed adjustments to bus service based on the current traffic conditions,” a spokesman said in a statement. “Transit patrons should, however, anticipate longer trip times to reach their destinations and plan accordingly.”

Metro is trying to avoid massive gridlock by offering free rides on any combination of public transit to and from Westside neighborhoods during the closure many are calling “Carmageddon.”

The authority announced in June it will be adding 61 buses to eight major bus lines, including the 2, which links downtown to the Pacific Palisades along Sunset Boulevard, and rapid buses that travel to Santa Monica along Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards. It will also add 16 buses to enhance late night service on some of those routes.

The authority is offering free service on the Red and Purple Line subways and the Orange Line through the San Fernando Valley from Woodland Hills to North Hollywood.

A complete list of the free and expanded transit routes during the construction is at www.metro.net/I-405.


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