A 2 1/2-mile stretch of the Santa Ana (101) Freeway east of downtown Los Angeles, which had been closed since Friday as work continues on a project to replace the Sixth Street Viaduc, has reopened early.

The closure began at 10 p.m. Friday and was scheduled to continue until 3 p.m. Sunday, but work was completed early and the roadway reopened late Saturday, according to media reports. The closure had stretched from the Santa Monica (10) Freeway on the south to the 5/10/101 interchange on the north.

It was the second closure of the stretch to accommodate the work to remove the falsework on the aging structure. The freeway was also closed on the weekend of Oct. 22-24, but that planned 41-hour closure actually lasted only 26 hours, with crews completing their work ahead of schedule, according to the city Bureau of Engineering.

During the closure, motorists traveling westbound on the Pomona (60) Freeway from the Pomona area were not able to access the 101 Freeway. Those motorists were detoured north on the Long Beach (710) Freeway to the westbound 10/101 Freeway. Southbound motorists on the 101 were able to take the Harbor (110) Freeway south, then head east on the 10 Freeway to bypass the closed freeway section.

“The Bureau of Engineering has completed installation of cable hangers along the arches above the 101 Freeway,” according to the city. “That span is now fully supported and no longer requires the supporting falsework under the bridge. The contractor will remove the falsework during the closure.”

The work is part of the city’s $588 million Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project, replacing a 1930s-era structure that is considered seismically unsound. The new viaduct, set to be completed in summer of next year, is the largest bridge project in city history.

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