A one-mile stretch of the 101 Freeway in Encino will close for 12 hours starting Saturday night while crews work to demolish a pedestrian overpass deemed too close to the highway.
The California Department of Transportation said it will close all lanes from 10 p.m. Saturday until 10 a.m. Sunday from White Oak Avenue and Balboa Boulevard. Crews will be working to take down the pedestrian bridge at Encino Avenue that was built in 1959 over the 101. Caltrans officials said the bridge no longer met necessary "vertical clearance."
Caltrans officials do not plan to reconstruct a new pedestrian pathway to replace the bridge — as was initially proposed — following a years-long review process that took input from residents who live nearby. Many said they did not want to see a new bridge built, but instead preferred walkability improvements along Louise Avenue, which crosses above the 101 about a quarter-mile east of Encino Avenue, according to the office of Sen. Henry Stern (D-Malibu).
🚧Closure Alert🚧U.S. 101 from White Oak Ave. to Balboa Blvd. in the #SanFernandoValley will close from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. Oct. 1-2. Please plan accordingly and use alternate routes. Info and detour maps 👇 pic.twitter.com/gOlT2DGGZk
— Caltrans District 7 (@CaltransDist7) September 22, 2022
"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," Allison Colburn, a spokesperson for Caltrans, said in a statement. "We will continue working with the Encino community to determine next steps."
The $6.1-million bridge demolition project will ensure taller vehicles no longer hit the overpass, as has happened in recent years, Colburn said.
Before the all-lane closure Saturday, Caltrans officials said up to three lanes in each direction on the 101 could close starting at 10 p.m. Friday, but two lanes each way will remain open. There will be signs for detours to use during the closures.
The following ramps will also be closed during the demolition:
Reseda Boulevard on-ramp to southbound 101
White Oak Avenue on-ramp to southbound 101
Balboa Boulevard on-ramp to northbound 101
On-ramp from Haskell Avenue to northbound 101
Connector from southbound 405 Freeway to northbound U.S. 101
Connector from northbound 405 Freeway to northbound U.S. 101
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.