SEPULVEDA PASS (CBSLA.com/AP) — “Jamzilla” has begun. But whether the 80-hour freeway closure becomes a monster worthy of its name remains to be seen.
Ramp and lane closures expected to last until early Tuesday began late Friday night on Interstate 405 as the Los Angeles region undergoes another major freeway shutdown with a frightening nickname.
Transportation planners have practically begged LA area drivers to stay away from a heavily traveled stretch of Interstate 405 over the Presidents Day weekend.
Workers were repaving nearly six miles of northbound lanes over the Sepulveda Pass connecting West LA and the San Fernando Valley as part of a project to add carpool lanes starting early Saturday.
Two northbound lanes were set to remain open during the day, but all five lanes will be closed at night. The plan calls for finishing the work about 6 a.m. Tuesday.
On Saturday night, CBS2’s Brittney Hopper reported that traffic in and around the Sepulveda Pass was moving swiftly and that traffic on the 405 was moving along nicely.
Most of the anticipated jams have thus far not materialized.
Officials believe many people heeded the warnings and stayed home or avoided the west side.
Hopper did run into a few motorists who got caught in one jam. One male driver said he had “no idea” about the closure this weekend.
Full northbound night-time freeway closure times are as follows:
• Sunday, Feb. 16 – 2 a.m. to 7 a.m.
• Monday, Feb. 17 – 12 a.m. to 5 a.m.
• Tuesday, Feb. 18 – 12 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Typically during those 80 hours, about 150,000 vehicles would drive north over the freeway.
There should be minimal impact on southbound lanes, according to Dave Sotero, a spokesman for the LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is helping fund the work along with the state and federal governments.
Traffic planners hope the weeks of warnings they have given motorists will mean just minimal traffic jams.
That is what happened on the same stretch of freeway several years ago, when nightmare gridlock from a closure dubbed “Carmageddon” did not materialize because drivers heeded pleas to avoid the area.
Carmageddon and Jamzilla were spawned by $1.1 billion in improvements being made to Interstate 405 that include higher-capacity on- and off-ramps and bridges that meet seismic standards.
For more information, visit Metro’s website.
(TM and ©Copyright 2014 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.)