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Drivers Urged To Stay Off LA Freeways To Avoid ‘Carmageddon II’

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Transportation officials say drivers have to stay off the roads during this weekend’s sequel to Carmageddon II to make sure it doesn’t become “The Traffic Strikes Back.”

“We are 100 percent sure that this Carmageddon II is going to go off just as well as it did last year if we have the cooperation of the public,” Caltrans District 7 Director Mike Miles said. “If you absolutely have to drive, plan ahead. Take some extra water with you, take some provisions, take some food. Take your medications with you if you have to be out on the road because if you do get caught in a traffic jam, it could be for hours.”

“Carmageddon II” will happen this weekend so crews can demolish the north half of the Mulholland Bridge over the freeway.

The demolition will shut down all lanes of the 405 Freeway between the Santa Monica (10) and Ventura (101) freeways over the weekend. Ramps along the 405 Freeway will begin shutting down as early as 7 p.m. Friday and lanes will begin closing around 10 p.m. The entire freeway stretch will be shut down by midnight.

The closure is expected to continue until 5 a.m. Monday.

Sepulveda Boulevard will be available as an alternate route during the closure for local traffic only.

Avoiding a traffic nightmare over the weekend will require about two-thirds of the people who typically get on the 405 Freeway – about 185,000 motorists — need to stay out of their cars during the closure, Miles said.

The first Carmageddon took place in July 2011, and motorists heeded the weeks of warnings to avoid the area, leaving many streets in and near the closure area practically abandoned for the weekend. The demolition work on the south side of the Mulholland bridge during that closure was completed ahead of schedule, and the freeway was reopened 17 hours early.

But that success has prompted some fears that motorists this year would be a little more complacent. Metro officials also warn that there likely won’t be an early finish to the work during Carmageddon II, because two sets of bridge columns must be removed, compared with one last year. The demolition work will also be more complicated because of inactive utility lines, according to Metro.

(©2012 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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