Sepulveda Tunnel Under Mulholland Drive Los Angeles

The Sepulveda Tunnel Under Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles

The Sepulveda Tunnel runs underneath Mulholland Drive and connects the San Fernando Valley with the west side of Los Angeles.  Two lanes run north, one runs south.  It was opened in 1930.  The tunnel facade contains beautiful elements reminiscent of Greek and Roman architecture.  Inside, the tunnel is lined with tiles and has a tiny sidewalk.

Coming up from the Valley, Sepulveda is a steep winding road with lots of hairpin turns.  Sleek sports cars slip past you before you even hear them.  Fat, lumbering SUVs cut you off, making you wonder about those rollover statistics.  They are doiing major work on the 405 so be aware that this stretch of over-used road will be even more gridlocked than usual.  At least it will give you more time to admire the architecture!  Visit the Sepulveda Pass Improvements page for more info on their progress…

Approaching from the West Side, Sepulveda is fairly straight and steep.  It runs parallel with the 405 freeway until ducking into the hills.  At night and on weekends Sepulveda has fairly light traffic.  That means most people may be going pretty fast on this road.

I have seen bicyclists going through this tunnel on the weekends.  It always reminds me of the beginning of that Warren Beatty movie where he gets creamed in a tunnel.  It is not a structure you notice – unless it is rush hour.  Then you will have plenty of time to ponder the facade.  We do not recommend wandering around this area on foot – or bicycle.

There is another Sepulveda Tunnel which runs underneath LAX.  This tunnel is not marked, so we’re just assuming it shares the same name.

Sepulveda Bridge bent falling rock sign in Los Angeles
A bent Falling Rock sign at the entrance to the Sepulveda Tunnel.  One lane runs north, into the San Fernando Valley.
Archetectural element in Sepulveda Bridge in Los Angeles
The upper corners have this symbol.  It could be a ram’s head or two circles and a layered shield.
Car in Sepulveda Bridge in Los Angeles
No longer a dirt highway, Sepulveda Blvd. runs from the southern edges of Los Angeles to the nort h.My sister helped me take this and most of the other photos.  I shot and she drove the getaway car. Not a bad caper, eh?
Archetectural element in Sepulveda Bridge in Los Angeles
A view of the facade facing north.  This side has fading paint at the top.  As a result, the cement texture and interesting shading shows through.  Branches of oak and vines hang down from above.  Just for a second pretend you have discovered the secret entrance to a Roman temple.
Sepulveda Tunnel in Los Angeles
The bottom of the Sepulveda Blvd. tunnel facade appears Roman.  A tiny sidewalk for brave souls runs through the tunnel.  Outside the paint is unmatched and peeling.
— And don’t you just want to get a broom?
North side of Sepulveda Tunnel in Los Angeles
This side faces south.  Fresh paint probably means it is covering graffiti.  Under the ram’s head is another architectural element framed in beveled cement.  The element looks like an old electrical outlet cover. It has bolts and appears to be metal under the paint.