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Against All Odds

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As unlikely an event as singer Phil Collins having another hit song, the desperately-needed northbound 405 carpool line has begun construction this afternoon, reports the Los Angeles Times and CBS2. The project was almost shut down last month when the Legislature siphoned bond money away that was earmarked for the widening. But Metro, which only has about $378 million for the $1 billion project, refused to delay it, insisting they have money for at least 15 months of work and will find the remaining bucks in the interim. Meanwhile, 18,000 jobs are being filled and construction costs are low since the economy is in the crapper. The project will create 10 miles of carpool lane from the 10 freeway in West LA to the 101 exchange in Sherman Oaks/Encino. When completed in 2013 (hopefully), the project will make the northbound HOV lane the longest in the nation at 72 miles and will connect OC to the San Fernando Valley. Eighteen miles of retaining walls will also be built and bridges will be constructed. Six homes near the freeway's Valley Vista Blvd. exit were purchased by the state and will soon say hello to the wrecking ball. [LA Times, CBS]