Interstate 405 (California)

Interstate 405 (also referred to as "I-405" and "The 405") is one of the principal north-south interstate highways in Southern California, and the major bypass of Interstate 5 running through the Greater Los Angeles Area. The entire 405 is known as the northern segment of the San Diego Freeway, despite being away from downtown San Diego. I-405 is a heavily-traveled thoroughfare by commuters and freight haulers along its entire length and has earned its place as one of the busiest and most congested freeways in the world, and the most congested in the United States. It has played a crucial role in the development of dozens of cities and suburbs along its route through the Greater Los Angeles area.

This route is part of the California Freeway and Expressway System.

Route description

The 405 begins at the El Toro Y interchange with Interstate 5 in southeastern Irvine. It then runs northwest through Orange County to Long Beach in Los Angeles County. The freeway then roughly follows the outline of the Pacific coast, varying between five and ten miles (16 km) inland before crossing over the Sepulveda Pass in the Santa Monica Mountains. I-405 then travels due north through the San Fernando Valley, before terminating with I-5 in the Mission Hills district of Los Angeles.

The San Diego Freeway's congestion problems are legendary, leading to the joke that the Interstate was named 405 because traffic moves at "four or five" miles an hour. Indeed, average speeds as low as five miles per hour are routinely recorded during morning and afternoon commutes, and its interchanges with the Ventura Freeway (U.S. Route 101) and with the Santa Monica Freeway (Interstate 10) each consistently rank among the five most congested freeway interchanges in the United States. As a result of these congestions problems on the 405, it may take longer to pass through the entire Los Angeles area using this bypass route than merely taking the parent I-5 through the city.

Commuters are known to despise the freeway. Steve Harvey of the Los Angeles Times once featured a personalized license plate with the text HATE405 in his column. While much of this gridlock has to do with the lack of alternate routes between many of the areas it connects — some of which, such as the Pacific Coast and Laurel Canyon freeways, were proposed but abandoned for political reasons — the freeway would likely be busy even with the addition of other roads and mass transit solutions, as it connects so many important Greater Los Angeles area locations.

Points of interest along the 405

Major cities
Bolded cities are officially-designated control cities for signs

There are a number of points of interest that the 405 passes by or connects to. For transportation, these include, in the order passed in the direction from south to north, are John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Long Beach Municipal Airport and Los Angeles International Airport. With connections, it reaches very close to the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles.

The 405 passes many recreational and commercial destinations. These include more than ten California state beaches, several other beaches owned by counties and municipalities, many of the beach cities favored by tourists, as well as Century City and Marina del Rey.

Some of the educational institutions it passes include the California State Universities at Dominguez Hills, Long Beach, and Northridge; the University of California at Irvine and Los Angeles and Loyola Marymount University. The 405 also passes cultural facilities such as the Getty Center and the Skirball Cultural Center.


Interstate 405 was approved as a chargeable interstate in 1955. It begun construction in 1957 and the first section was opened in 1961 signed as SR 7 which is mostly north of LAX Airport. I-405 sections west of Interstate 605 were done before 1965, and the newest section was done in 1969, covering most of Orange County. The freeway from present-day Interstate 10 to Interstate 5 near San Fernando was once known as the Sepulveda Freeway as it was named for the L.A. district now known as North Hills.

The O.J. Simpson chase

While dangerous high-speed chases along the San Diego Freeway are not uncommon, perhaps the most famous chase in its history was also one of the slowest. On the afternoon of June 17, 1994, former football star O.J. Simpson, suspected in the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and waiter Ronald Goldman, took to the freeway in a white Ford Bronco (driven by former USC teammate Al Cowlings) with police in pursuit. A bizarre, widely-televised low-speed chase ensued and ended hours later when Simpson returned to his Brentwood estate via the Sunset Boulevard exit and surrendered to law enforcement.

Other events

Following the 1966 UCLA-USC rivalry game, USC was voted into the Rose Bowl despite UCLA defeating the Trojans and both teams having only one loss. UCLA students protested by blocking the Northbound 405 lanes at Wilshire Boulevard.

Ennis Cosby, the only son of Bill Cosby, was murdered along I-405 in Los Angeles on January 16, 1997, while fixing a flat tire.

In November 2003, Amber Stachowski, a collegiate water polo player for the UCLA Bruins and member of the U.S. National Team was injured in a motor vehicle accident on Interstate 405. She sustained a concussion, which kept her out of the water for two months. Six months later, she qualified for the Olympic team, which won a bronze medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

Exit list

Note: Except where prefixed with a letter, postmiles were measured in 1964, based on the alignment as it existed at that time, and do not necessarily reflect current mileage. The numbers reset at county lines; the start and end postmiles in each county are given in the county column.
County Location Postmile
# Destinations Notes
ORA 0.23-24.18
Irvine 0.23 Southbound exit and northbound entrance
1A Lake Forest Drive Southbound exit and northbound entrance
1B Bake Parkway Southbound exit and northbound entrance
0.95 1C Irvine Center Drive Signed as exit 1 northbound
1.80 2 No northbound exit to SR 133 north
2.88 3 Shady Canyon Drive, Sand Canyon Avenue
3.95 4 Jeffrey Road, University Drive
5.62 5 Culver Drive
6.92 7 Jamboree Road
7.80 8 MacArthur Boulevard – John Wayne Airport
Costa Mesa 8.74 9A No southbound exit to SR 55 south and northbound entrance from SR 55 north
9.51 9B Bristol Street
9B Anton Boulevard, Avenue of the Arts Northbound exit only
10.28 10 via toll road Southbound exit and northbound entrance
10.75 11A South Coast Drive, Fairview Road Signed as exit 11 northbound
11.45 11B Harbor BoulevardCosta Mesa Signed as exit 11 northbound
Fountain Valley 12.47 12 Euclid Street, Newhope Street
13.78 14 Brookhurst Street – Fountain Valley
14.82 15A Warner Avenue east Southbound exit and northbound entrance
Huntington Beach 15.21 15B Magnolia Street, Warner Avenue west Signed as exit 15 northbound
16.54 16
Westminster 17.75 18 Bolsa Avenue, Golden West Street
19.16 19 Westminster Avenue, Springdale Street
20.75 21 South end of SR 22 overlap
Seal Beach 22.64 22 Seal Beach Boulevard, Los Alamitos Boulevard
23.28 23 North end of SR 22 overlap
24.04 24A Signed as exit 24 northbound
Los Angeles
LA 0.27-48.64
Long Beach 0.45 24B Studebaker Road Southbound exit and northbound entrance
1.11 25 Palo Verde Avenue
1.64 26A Woodruff Avenue No southbound exit
2.18 26B Bellflower Boulevard Signed as exit 26 southbound
3.32 27
4.88 29 Spring Street, Cherry Avenue – Signal Hill Signed as exits 29A (south) and 29B (north)
5.39 29C Orange Avenue
6.08 30A Atlantic Avenue
6.34 30B Long Beach Boulevard
6.70 32A Pacific Avenue Southbound exit and northbound entrance
7.60 32 Signed as exits 32A (north) and 32B (south) northbound, and 32B (south) and 32C (north) southbound
8.06 32C Hughes Way, Santa Fe Avenue Signed as exit 32D southbound
8.78 33A Alameda Street (SR 47)
Carson 9.56 33B Wilmington Avenue
10.54 34 Carson Street
11.22 35 Avalon BoulevardCarson Northbound exit to Avalon Boulevard south is via exit 34
12.60 36 Main Street Northbound exit and southbound entrance
Los Angeles 12.97 37A Signed as exit 37 northbound
13.28 37B Vermont Avenue Southbound exit and northbound entrance
13.83 38A Normandie AvenueGardena
14.40 38B Western Avenue
Torrance 15.45 39 Crenshaw BoulevardTorrance
16.57 40A Artesia Boulevard Signed as exit 40 (on small sign) and exit 40A (on large street name sign) northbound; former SR 91
16.88 40B Redondo Beach Boulevard Southbound exit and northbound entrance
Lawndale 17.59 42A
18.23 42B Inglewood Avenue
Hawthorne 19.21 43 Rosecrans Avenue – Manhattan Beach Signed as exits 43A (east) and 43B (west) southbound
20.22 44 El Segundo BoulevardEl Segundo
R21.18 45A Signed as exit 45 southbound
Los Angeles R21.22 45B Imperial Highway Southbound exit is part of exit 46
Inglewood 22.22 46 Century BoulevardLAX Airport
23.36 47 Manchester Boulevard, La Cienega Boulevard, Florence Avenue Former SR 42
Los Angeles 24.27 48 La Tijera Boulevard
24.56 49A Howard Hughes Parkway, Sepulveda Boulevard Signed as exit 49 southbound
Culver City 25.46 49B Sepulveda Boulevard, Slauson Avenue (SR 90 east) Southbound exit is part of exit 50B
25.93 50A Jefferson Boulevard Signed as exit 50B northbound
25.95 50B Signed as exit 50A northbound
27.20 51 Culver Boulevard, Washington BoulevardCulver City
27.96 52 Venice Boulevard (SR 187), Washington Boulevard
Los Angeles 29.16 53A National Boulevard Northbound exit and southbound entrance
29.54 53B Signed as exit 53 southbound
30.18 54 Olympic Boulevard, Pico Boulevard Southbound exit and northbound entrance
30.86 55A
31.54 55B Wilshire Boulevard Signed as exits 55B (east) and 55C (west) southbound
32.50 56 Waterford Street (Closed) Former southbound exit and entrance
32.50 56 Montana Avenue Northbound exit only
33.00 57A Sunset Boulevard Signed as exit 57 southbound
33.29 57B Moraga Drive Northbound exit and entrance
34.76 59 Getty Center Drive
36.03 61 Mulholland Drive, Skirball Center Drive
39.00 63A Ventura Boulevard, Sepulveda Boulevard, Valley Vista Boulevard
39.43 63B
40.29 64 Burbank Boulevard
41.36 65 Victory BoulevardVan Nuys
42.36 66 Sherman Way Signed as exits 66A (east) and 66B (west) northbound
43.76 68 Roscoe BoulevardPanorama City
44.74 69 Nordhoff Street
46.24 70 Devonshire Street – Granada Hills
46.85 71A Signed as exit 71 southbound; no southbound exit to SR 118 east or northbound entrance from SR 118 west
47.24 71B San Fernando Mission Boulevard – San Fernando Northbound exit and southbound entrance
47.75 72 Rinaldi Street – Mission Hills
48.64 Northbound exit and southbound entrance


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