BOYLE HEIGHTS, Calif. (FOX 11 / CNS) - The Slow Jam ended early, as traffic resumed flowing between the Hollywood and Santa Ana freeways on U.S. 101 at 10 a.m., some four hours early on Sunday.
With the last chunks of the Sixth Street Viaduct removed, and protective dirt carted off, Caltrans and city contractors reopened the vital link in the East Los Angeles Interchange. Northbound lanes, then southbound, were opened at 10 a.m.
The usual freeway closing hype appeared to have worked, as no interminable traffic jams developed during the 36 hours that the 101 Freeway was closed.
"Our detour plans worked well and the alternative routes were able to handle the additional traffic," said Carrie Bowen, Director of Caltrans District 7. "We saw periodic delays of 10-20 minutes in some areas on Saturday afternoon. However by evening, most traffic was flowing at close to normal levels."
Northbound traffic was diverted onto the northbound Golden State (5) Freeway, southbound traffic was funneled onto the eastbound San Bernardino (10) Freeway. But because those freeways do not have connecting ramps in those directions, surface streets in the area bore the brunt of the traffic.
"I am grateful to our crews for all their hard work this weekend, and to the tens of thousands of Angeloes who helped make the freeway closure go even more smoothly than we expected," said Mayor Eric Garcetti. "That one fast Slow Jam."
"We are extremely grateful to the community for their patience throughout the weekend," said Gary Lee Moore, the city engineer. "We know that a closure of this size and a major construction project is difficult for anyone in the area."
Mayor Eric Garcetti helped spread word of the closure last week by posting a music video online, belting out some soulful lyrics with the backing of the Roosevelt High School Jazz Band.
"Listening to a slow jam means never wanting it to end." Garcetti said. "But living through the '101 Slow Jam' means planning ahead or avoiding the freeway altogether.
The Sixth Street Viaduct will be replaced by a $449 million bridge following a nine-month-long demolition.
The viaduct itself was closed to traffic in January. Construction is expected to last until 2019.
"We wanted to save this bridge, but ... we want people to be safe, and with the next earthquake, the old bridge just didn't measure up,'' Garcetti said.
"So we are building a new bridge that will also be seismically fit for this city, and that progress required a lot of hard work on the part of our city engineers, our public safety officers and construction crews.''