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Study: 405 Freeway Expansion Not Easing Traffic Congestion

LOS ANGELES ( — Angelenos who commute through the Sepulveda Pass on the 405 Freeway are all too familiar with the heavy traffic that frequently chokes the main Westside to San Fernando Valley artery.

A 5-year, $1.1 billion project to add a carpool lane, along with new on-ramps and off-ramps, was supposed to help ease some of that congestion. That project is perhaps best remembered for "Carmaggedon," which closed parts of the freeway for a weekend in 2011 for construction work.

"Living through the construction was nightmare," said Westside resident Harlan Levine, whose wife regularly commutes through the Sepulveda pass.

To make matters worse, Levine said his wife has not found the traffic to have improved.

"She doesn't think it's any better than it used to be," he said.

That opinion supports the findings of a study from analytics firm Inrix published earlier this year. The study determined that the expansion of the 405 Freeway did little if anything to ease congestion.

Recently, the California Department of Transportation acknowledged that adding lanes to freeways is an ineffective way to reduce traffic in the long term.

Traffic expert Kenny Morse said he agrees.

"We cannot build out of this," Morse said, gesturing at the freeway. "The only way we can get out of this in Los Angeles would be mass transit."

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