Long Beach will experience its own mini version of Carmaggedon starting at 10 p.m. tonight, Monday, when Caltrans closes the narrow tunnel connecting the end of the southbound 605 Freeway with the southbound 405 Freeway.
The connector will remain closed for two weeks, according to Joel Zlotnik, media relations officer for the Orange County Transportation Authority. The connector must be adjusted to make room for the still-to-be-constructed carpool lane connectors between the two freeways.
Traffic will be able to travel to the end of the 605, with all vehicles forced off on the westbound SR-22 (Seventh Street) offramp. The exit off that ramp towards Studebaker Road also is under construction to improve access to and from College Park West, but that route is one of four potential detours to get from the 605 to the southbound 405 in Orange County.
All of the work is part of the $277 million West County Connectors project. The Seventh Street Bridge already has been rebuilt as part of the project. The next major project at the interchange will be the closure and rebuild of the connector between eastbound Seventh Street and the ramp to the northbound 405. That ramp will be closed for a year.
“The next step after this two-week closure is starting the rebuild of the Seal Beach Boulevard bridge,” Zlotnik said. “We’ll be able to construct that one half at a time, so it will not be completely closed for any long period of time.”
The westbound SR22 offramp into Long Beach will stay open through the closure, Zlotnik said. Drivers can take that exit, get off on Studebaker and turn left, then take another left back onto the SR22 eastbound ramp to transition to the southbound 405.
Other recommended detours suggest exiting at Spring Street, then using Woodruff Avenue to that southbound 405 on-ramp or going to Studebaker to go down to the SR22 on-ramp. Finally, drivers could exit Katella Avenue, head east to Los Alamitos/Seal Beach Boulevard and go south to the next 405 on-ramp.
In a minor change, the eastbound SR22 on-ramp now narrows to one lane before flowing onto the northbound 605.
For maps of all the potential detours and more information about the project, go to www.oct.net/westcounty.