SEAL BEACH, Calif. (AP) — A section of one of Southern California's busiest freeways reopened ahead of schedule Sunday, ending the threat of historic traffic snarls after workers finished demolishing an old bridge.
The day was not hassle-free. Syrupy, but moving, traffic was reported along detour routes that helped drivers navigate around the closed strip of Interstate 405. As many as 300,000 vehicles pass through the stretch of freeway on a typical weekend day.
"You can't shut down a mainline freeway and not have some kind of traffic delay," said state Transportation Department spokesman David Richardson. "But they were minimal."
The work along a 4-mile strip of I-405 in Orange County raised fears of tangled traffic for miles, but officials reported no major tie-ups. The temporarily closed section was near I-405's junction with state Route 22 and I-605.
The southbound lanes reopened at about 2:30 p.m., more than two hours ahead of schedule. The northbound side followed about an hour later, although it took longer to clear some ramps.
Extensive publicity before the construction work apparently persuaded most drivers to stay away from the area.
Workers helming cranes and bulldozers began ripping up the 700-foot bridge Saturday night. The demolition is part of a $277 million project to link carpool lanes between the freeways.
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