Los Angeles, one of the most traffic-laden cities in the world, is faced with another traffic dilemma with the 52 hour, 10-mile closure of I-405 on September 29-30.
This is the second closure of the highway over Sepulveda Pass. Aptly named “Carmageddon II,” the Mulholland Bridge demolition and reconstruction is “required to widen the freeway” as part of the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project.
The first Carmageddon went exceptionally well, as it was free of “apocalyptic traffic congestion.” This was due to the shortened timeframe of the project and the cooperation of Angelenos. Antonio Villaraigosa, L.A. City Mayor and Metro Board Member, said “it was truly one of L.A.’s finest moments.”
Villaraigosa urges the city to make Carmageddon II as successful as its predecessor.
“We are again calling on the public to do its civic duty. Do not become complacent. Rather, let’s join together to enjoy another car-light or car-free weekend with family and friends Let’s all help get this critical job done safely and without incident,” Villaraigosa said.
The Sepulveda Pass is traveled by nearly 250,000 motorists over the weekend, meaning the closure will impact many. Metro Board Chair and L.A. County Supervisor joins Villaraigosa in urging Angelenos to “make plans in advance to use an alternate route or transit.”
On Friday, September 28 at 7 p.m., ramps on the 10-mile area will begin to shut down. Freeway lanes will close starting at 10 p.m. to ensure complete closure occurs by midnight. The closure will continue until 5 a.m. on Monday, October 1. By 6 a.m., all ramps and connectors will be reopened.
Sepulveda Boulevard will be used as an alternate route for local resident access only, as it was for the first Carmageddon. Unfortunately, Sepulveda Boulevard isn’t capable of accommodating both local and diverted freeway traffic. To get around the closure, motorists should use alternate regional freeway routes, including: the 5, 15, 23, 55, 57, 101, 118, 126, 210, 605 and 710 freeways.
While many have faith that this closure will run smoothly, there is a greater risk for gridlock as compared to the last Carmageddon. One reason for the increased risk is due to public apathy following “an aggressive internationally publicized outreach campaign warning of extreme road and freeway congestion that was successfully averted last year.”
Another reason for increased gridlock risk is due to the greater amount of time spent on the project. The contractor finished demolition work nearly 17 hours earlier in Carmageddon I, but is unlikely to finish early in Carmageddon II. They must complete more demolition work this time within the same 53-hour period. Two bridge columns, compared to one bridge column last year, must be removed.
Many risk factors have remained the same as last year. The I-405 is still the busiest freeway in the country, with the same amount of people travelling over Sepulveda Pass. There are no immediate, effective north/south alternative routes, and the closure area still connects with I-10 and U.S. 101.
L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Zev Yaroslavsky said to “give your stress a rest. Get out of your cars. Take a walk, plant a garden, have a barbeque with neighbors. Let’s make this another Carmageddon-Schmarmegeddon experience for us all.”
Those who must travel during the closure are urged to plan ahead and monitor real-time traffic conditions. Coverage of the freeway closure will be sent to message signs in various metropolitan regions throughout the state, warning drivers in advance.
From the Century City Chamber of Commerce