LOS ANGELES — It is the very symbol of traffic and congestion. Interstate 405, or the 405, as it is known by the 300,000 drivers who endure it morning and night, is the busiest highway in the nation, a 72-mile swerving stretch of pavement that crosses the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles.
So it was that many Angelenos applauded when officials embarked on one of the most ambitious construction projects in modern times here: a $1 billion initiative to widen the highway. And drivers and others put up with no shortage of disruption — detours and delays, highway shutdowns, neighborhood streets clogged with cars — in the hopes of relieving one of the most notorious bottlenecks anywhere.
Six years after the first bulldozer rolled in, the construction crews are gone. A new car pool lane has opened, along with a network of on- and offramps and three new earthquake-resistant bridges.
But the question remains: Was it worth it?