101 Freeway reopens early after Encino bridge demolition

A stretch of the 101 Freeway has reopened ahead of schedule following an overnight closure in both directions to accommodate the demolition of a pedestrian bridge in Encino, Caltrans announced.

The demolition was completed earlier than planned and the freeway reopened at 6:30 a.m. Sunday, according to Caltrans officials. The closure began at 10 p.m. Saturday and was scheduled to end at 10 a.m. Sunday.

The closure stretched from White Oak Avenue to Balboa Boulevard, and also included a half-dozen onramps in the area.

Caltrans workers removed the pedestrian bridge over the freeway at Encino Avenue to eliminate its outdated vertical clearance.

The bridge will not be replaced.

"Caltrans is currently working on plans to upgrade nearby crossing points along the corridor, including at Louise Avenue, to ensure pedestrians and bicyclists have improved and safer access across U.S. 101," Caltrans spokeswoman Allison Colburn said in a media statement last week. "We will continue working with the Encino community to determine next steps."

Nearby residents successfully lobbied to have state funds meant to replace the bridge used instead for other roadway improvements near the freeway.