‘Mission Accomplished!’ 405 Freeway Reopens Early

LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — The event that many feared would be the “Carmageddon” of epic traffic jams cruised calmly to a finish Sunday, with work on the half-century-old Mulholland Bridge completed nearly a full day ahead of schedule and officials reopening a 10-mile stretch of the busy Interstate 405.

Drivers honked their horns and waved from car windows as traffic started moving in all 10 lanes of the freeway just after noon for the first time since being shut down at midnight Friday. There were no major problems since the freeway was closed, despite warnings.

“Mission accomplished!”, exclaimed Mayor Villaraigosa, when he announced that the 405 Freeway was reopening early at a press conference Sunday afternoon.

The mayor praised contractors for working so quickly and thanked city residents for heeding calls to stay off the roads. He also gave credit to news outlets for spreading word about the closure, which had been planned to last for 53 hours.

“A lot is said about the fact that this is the car capitol of the United States of America, the congestion capitol, the city most addicted to the single-passenger automobile,” said Villaraigosa, adding, “And, yet, not enough is said about the people of Los Angeles when they come together, when they decide that we all have to work together to make something work.”

The mayor stressed that officials could not have done this project were it not for the cooperation of residents.

Crews finished demolition work on the bridge at about 7 a.m., toppling two massive pillars. About 4,000 tons of concrete rubble was expected to be removed over the course of the job.

119300197 10 ‘Mission Accomplished!’ 405 Freeway Reopens Early

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For weeks, authorities warned people that driving as usual this weekend could trigger what had been hyped as an event that could back up vehicles from the I-405 to surface streets and other freeways, causing a domino effect that could paralyze much of Los Angeles.

But the fears of epic traffic jams dissipated with only light weekend traffic.

Officials said during the closure there were 65 percent fewer automobiles on freeways in the LA metro area, compared with normal weekend traffic.

The California Department of Transportation reopened the freeway in phases. The off-ramps were opened first, then the freeway itself, followed by connectors from other freeways and the on-ramps, the mayor said.

The I-405 could be completely open as early as 3 p.m., according to Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Dave Sotero.

Demolition work previously was expected to be completed by 2 a.m. Monday, followed by cleanup and reopening of the freeway at 5 a.m., with on-ramps and connectors all reopened by an hour later.

The project picked up its apocalyptic name when Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said at an early June new conference that “this doesn’t need to be a Carmageddon” if people avoided driving.

On Sunday, Yaroslavsky jokingly dismissed the phrase that took on a life of its own. “Carmageddon, Shmarmageddon!” he declared.

“I think people in L.A. have learned that you can get along without having to take long car rides on a weekend,” the supervisor said.

The mayor agreed.

“I think everyone has realized that we can get out of our cars once in a while and survive,” Villaraigosa said.

He added that he loved hearing reports of people venturing out in their neighborhoods on foot, meeting neighbors, and making time for family dinners and barbecues.

Another closure will be required in about 11 months to demolish the north side. Officials said they were hopeful that the future shutdown would run just as smoothly as this one.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. David Garcia says:

    we survived! i just bought my I SURVIVED CARMAGEDDON T SHIRT from

    http://isurvivedcar-magedd​on.com/

    check out all the funny and cool designs!

  2. shawn b says:

    To earn an incentive award, Contractors will do anything to complete the task. What is complete?? is the $1,224,000 question!!!

  3. saveLA says:

    Good job the contractors!
    Do not let the Mayor Villagoraza take credit for this, and say that he saved hundreds of thousands, when he does let his city decay and spend billions on illegal aliens

  4. ginny says:

    Well said saveLA, well said.

  5. Josh Butts says:

    Can’t even watch the whole video without the page refreshing and then starting the video all over.

  6. Right says:

    Greasy Tony V. is all smiles for a photo-op as usual.

    1. lori says:

      I agree, can’t stand that lazy mayor. Just there when he needs a photo op. Did he have work done?

    2. moose says:

      OK lets call the mayor by his corect name.
      Antonio”Show Me The Camera” Villaraigosa

  7. pmoore says:

    worst mayor in history…

  8. JustinC says:

    Mayor reconquistador. LA is so stupid, overblowing everything. Grasy jerkoff politician. It’s disgusting when you fly into LAX and see a big mug of his dumb greashead when you’re exiting the terminal.

  9. JimC says:

    What a non-event! Shades of Y2K. The hype on this was totally manufactured by the media to appear sensational. This is how to create news when there is none.

    1. Karen says:

      I don’t agree. If the media did not continually remind us, we would have been on the west side. I am so psyched that we Angelenos COOPERATED. There were people who got married yesterday in Santa Monica. They made it to the church on time. Since we were invited to the beach after the 405 opened, I went and had such a blast cruising on the 405 with NO traffic. Wow. Back to normal tomorrow. Bummer.

  10. Trace says:

    Typical news media B.S. For over a month KNX has been alarming people, and saying Survive Carmageddon with daily count downs!! KNX needs to STFU and stop making a whole lot of something out of nothing….!

  11. Chris Ruh says:

    It was absolutely right and correct for the local media to get the alerts out and to present us with the worst-case scenarios. “Carmageddon” may not have materialized, but that is ONLY due to the fact that we Angelinos made informed decisions about how we’d conduct ourselves thus weekend. And they only way we could make such decisions was to understand what was going on and why and to heed the calls for a change in our we drove this weekend. Say what you will about the mayor, but if we is supposed to get the blame when things go wrong, he must get the credit when things go well. This is an example that government CAN work. I’m pleased and happy to be a native this weekend.

  12. Donco says:

    my brother was running one of the work crews up there,credit goes to the laborers that made it happen,the mayor needs to go. if he wants publicity why dont he give the ok to open the brotherhood raceway on terminal island to get the street racers of the streets? by the way a majority of the laborers were immigrants,we didnt cross the borders, the boarders crossed us,,,

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