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Metro Offering Free Subway Rides During 405 Closure

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Passengers taking the Red Line subway under the Hollywood Hills will be able to ride free for one weekend this summer during the 405 Freeway closure, Metro officials announced Saturday.

The Caltrans closure, which is set to begin July 15, is expected to create massive traffic problems north and south of the Hollywood Hills while workers tear down half of the Mulholland Drive Overpass that stands in the way of a $1.3 billion widening project.

Officials are expected to announce details about how Angelenos and tourists can use public transit during the Friday-through-Monday morning closure at a news conference planned for Monday.

Major stress is expected on other freeways, particularly near Dodger Stadium and in the Studio City area. Two-lane routes across the hills, like Topanga, Benedict and Laurel canyons, are also expected to be jammed.

And because the closure will extend as far south as the Santa Monica (10) Freeway, major jams can be expected on the Westside, including Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and even Malibu.

Metro plans to run extra buses on major east-west streets, like Ventura, Santa Monica and Sunset boulevards. Although regular fares will be collected on buses, they will connect to the free Red Line trains for access across the mountains that separate the San Fernando Valley from Hollywood and the rest of L.A.

Sepulveda Boulevard, which runs through the construction zone, will be reserved for residents of the immediate area only.

County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky predicts “the potential of the mother of all traffic jams” and said anyone who thinks they know a shortcut across the mountains should “save your gas.”

“I know virtually every shortcut in these parts, and none will work because of the sheer volume of vehicles being taken off the freeway,” Yaroslavsky said on his blog.

For more information on the project, visit Metro online. For a list of detours and maps, click here.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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