LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The contractor doing the demolition work on the 405 Freeway this weekend, dubbed “carmageddon” for the inevitable havoc the shutdown will create, could face heavy fines if the highway doesn’t reopen on time.
L.A.’s most traveled highway is slated to be closed for 53 hours. Any longer and the Kiewit International could be charged $72,000 for each additional hour residents are inconvenienced.
Kiewit has ordered the closure as they demolish part of the Mulholland Bridge spanning the freeway near the Skirball Cultural Center.
The demolition is being carried out as part of a $1.2 billion widening project to add carpool lanes to the 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass.
Beginning Friday night, the northbound freeway will be closed for 10 miles between the Ventura (101) and Santa Monica (10) freeways. The southbound freeway will be closed from the 101 Freeway to Skirball Center Drive. The freeway and all ramps are expected to be reopened to traffic by 6 a.m. Monday.
Kiewit will be fined $6,000 for every 10 minutes each side of the highway remains closed after 6 a.m. Monday.
“We based that on the cost of delay,” Caltrans 7th District Director Mike Miles said. “For every minute of delay, we figure there is a cost to the public.”
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency coordinating the 405 closure project, is considering a monetary incentive for Kiewit to finish the project ahead of schedule, but has not set a final figure.
Local officials have been warning motorists for weeks about the impending closure — urging people to avoid driving through the area. Roughly 500,000 vehicles travel on the freeway through the Sepulveda Pass on Saturdays and Sundays, and re-routing that traffic is expected to have reverberating impacts on streets and freeways throughout the region.
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