When California state and local officials gathered on December 21, 1962 to dedicate the newest addition to I-405, an eight-lane, 5.7 mile section between West Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, they were thrilled to provide a quick alternative to the steep turns of the adjacent four-lane Sepulveda Boulevard.
“With the possible exception of the dedication of the downtown Los Angeles freeway loop last March, this is the most gratifying experience of this kind that I have had,” Governor Edmund G. Brown, Sr. said in a message read at the ceremony.
How big a deal was it? Nearly 800 people attended the opening ceremony where Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty cut the ribbon, after which a 365-car caravan drove the new section which extended from approximately Sunset Boulevard to Valley Vista Boulevard near U.S. 101.
Officials jubilantly envisioned as many as 100,000 vehicles traveling over the route once the 40-mile stretch of the 405 Freeway was complete from the city of San Fernando to Long Beach. What they didn’t anticipate was that 50 years later the Sepulveda Pass would carry five times that number.