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City Leaders Discuss Expectations For ‘Carmageddon II’

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — City officials met with Metro, Caltrans, and other organizations Thursday to discuss preparation plans for “Carmageddon II”.

The 10-mile, full closure of I-405 freeway through the Sepulveda Pass will take place the weekend of Sept. 29-30.

The 53-hour project will shut down the freeway between I-10 and U.S. 101 so crews can demolish the north side of the Mulholland Bridge, transportation officials announced last month.

The first “Carmageddon” occurred in July 2011, but the anticipated massive traffic congestion never materialized, as motorists seemed to avoid the area.

“It worked great last time because hundreds of thousands of people stayed away from this area,” Marc Littman from Metro told KCAL9’s Joy Benedict.

During last year’s closure, there were 65 percent fewer automobiles on freeways in the LA metro area, compared with normal weekend traffic, officials said.

“During Carmageddon I, drivers proved the skeptics wrong,” County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said in July. “They heard our warnings and stayed off the roads, creating a traffic breather not seen since the free-flowing freeways of the 1984 Olympics. I have every confidence they’ll rise to the occasion again.”

Officials will again ask motorists to cooperate by planning ahead and avoiding the area.

On Sept. 28, ramps along the closure area will begin to be shut down as early as 7 p.m., and individual freeway lanes will begin at 10 p.m. The entire 10-mile section of the freeway is expected to be closed by midnight.

The closure may continue until 5 a.m. Oct. 1, although during last year’s Carmageddon, the contractor, removing one column of the bridge, finished working 17 hours earlier than expected.

Metro officials said an early completion will be unlikely in September.

“This year is more complicated, it’s two sets of columns, and they got to do utility work,” Littman said.

The demolition and reconstruction of the Mulholland Bridge is part of the $1 billion Sepulveda Pass improvement project that is adding a 10-mile northbound carpool lane and making other upgrades along the route. The project is expected to be completed next year.

Sepulveda Boulevard will be available as an alternate route for local traffic only during the closure, while officials want commuters to stay away from the area completely if possible.

“The Sepulveda just doesn’t have that capacity. It’s really geared for residents and emergency vehicles,” Littman said.

For all the latest closure information, visit metro.net/405.

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