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CBS2, KCAL9 Agree To Pool Helicopter Coverage Of ‘Carmageddon II’

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — This year’s sequel to a weekend-long shutdown of the 405 Freeway along the Sepulveda Pass may have a slightly different — and less noisy — twist.

For the first time ever, CBS2, KCAL9 and other Los Angeles television stations have reached an agreement to pool their helicopter coverage of “Carmageddon II” this weekend.

The move was announced and coordinated by the Radio and Television News Association (RTNA), which is coordinating the effort.

A single helicopter from one station will make a fly over before the top of every hour when major newscasts are scheduled on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings and Monday morning, when the freeway is expected to reopen sometime before 5 a.m.

Under the plan, stations will not fly except for a single status-report video on Saturday and Sunday mornings, unless an emergency occurs.

“This is a culmination of efforts made by vendors to our industry, as well as the Professional Helicopter Pilots Association and RTNA over several months to change the way we cover news from the air,” said KNX 1070 traffic report Jeff Baugh, who heads RTNA’s airborne operations committee.

But while the media are adjusting their schedules, KNX 1070′s John Brooks reports Metro officials are concerned that some drivers may fail to make alternate travel plans.

“Stay off the roadways, stay off the freeways this weekend because the traffic…could be very bad,” said Metro’s Dave Sotero. “

Homeowners have voiced concerns about helicopter noise levels after last year’s closure of a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 405 between the Santa Monica (10) Freeway and the Ventura (101) Freeway to finish demolishing the north side of the Mulholland Drive bridge.

Rep. Congressman Howard Berman on Monday joined county and state officials in calling on residents to report any excessive helicopter noise from news stations during this weekend’s coverage.

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