SEAL BEACH (AP/CBSLA.com) — In what’s become a rite of summer in Southern California, construction will force the weekend closure of one of the nation’s busiest stretch of highway, threatening to create massive tangles of traffic.
Or will it?
Beginning at 9 p.m. Saturday, authorities will shut the 405 Freeway near its junction with State Route 22 and the 605 Freeway as part of a $277 million project to link carpool lanes between the freeways. Crews will have 20 hours to tear down an old connector bridge before the freeway reopens at 5 p.m. Sunday.
The project, which began in 2010, also includes a second carpool lane for the 405 Freeway between the 22 and 605.
Completion is slated for late 2014 or early 2015.
Closures will include:
– the northbound 405 Freeway at Valley View Street in Westminster
– the southbound 405 Freeway between the 605 Freeway junction to the eastbound 22 Freeway
– 7th Street/the eastbound 22 Freeway at the southbound 405 Freeway junction
The weekend closure is the latest freeway shutdown in the region that stirred fears of epic traffic jams but have — so far — not panned out.
The closure of a section of the 405 in Los Angeles in 2011, followed by a similar shutdown there last year, did not result in “Carmageddon.” Motorists heeded months of warning to stay off the road and the weekend traffic was unusually light.
Transportation officials are hoping for a repeat by warning residents to not only steer clear of the freeways, but also avoid the detours.
To get the word out, they distributed tens of thousands of fliers, illuminated freeway signs with warnings and dubbed the closure the “Bridge Bash.”
The local newspaper had a naming contest and the winner was the “Orange Jam.”
Officials say the potential for serious backups is real: 300,000 vehicles pass through the stretch of freeway that will be disrupted by the bridge demolition on a typical weekend day.
The best detours available will send drivers on long side-street tours of cities such as Los Alamitos and Seal Beach.
Go to our traffic page for the latest.
For more information, or to find alternate routes, visit Caltrans.
Get traffic updates from KNX 1070
(TM and © Copyright 2013 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)