Entries in Carmageddon (4)


Carmageddon Averted: I-405 Reopens Early

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Los Angeles’ feared "Carmageddon" ended before it ever really began Sunday, as officials re-opened Interstate 405 17 hours ahead of their Monday morning target.

Billboards warning of historic gridlock, celebrity tweets to stay in your neighborhood and stern mayoral pronouncements apparently scared most Angelenos off the road (or out of town) during the shutdown of a 10-mile stretch of I-405, a vital north-south artery connecting the city to the San Fernando Valley.

The closure turned the city's Westside into a relaxing, sun-dappled playland where restaurants seated patrons without waits and Angelenos made uncharacteristic use of their own footpower to get around.

At least two intrepid skateboarders dodged police and California Highway Patrol officers staged at the on ramps for an unimpeded adventure down the 405, only to be warned they risked arrest if they attempted a repeat performance.

Officials can only hope residents won't have become complacent 11 months from now -- when the remaining half of the Mulholland Bridge comes down in Carmageddon II.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Interstate 405 Closure Ushers Traffic-Free Weekend

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Despite the ominous closure of one of the nation's busiest thoroughfares, traffic around Interstate 405 in Los Angeles seems to be flowing freely.

A ten-mile stretch of I-405 was closed down on Friday as part of an extensive widening project. Crews have a matter of days to tear down the Mulholland Drive overpass.

Authorities reportedly gave the contractor a Monday, 6 a.m. deadline, with a $6,000 fine for every ten minutes the project goes over schedule.

Officials remain concerned that the lack of traffic over the weekend may encourage drivers on Sunday, creating widespread back-ups. That, however, remains to be seen.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Los Angeles Gears Up for 'Carmaggedon'

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- "Carmaggedon" is almost here -- and Los Angeles is on pins and needles.

The much-ballyhooed shutdown of a 10-mile stretch of the key 405 freeway -- used on a typical weekend by half a million motorists -- starts at midnight Friday and continues until early Monday. In a city where walking is considered weird and public transportation an afterthought, the closure has sparked anxiety and generated huge publicity.

It has its own Facebook page, the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Widening Project, and Twitter-savvy celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Tom Hanks have tweeted to warn drivers to stay home.

County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, whose district includes the closure area, has a countdown clock on his website anticipating the shutdown to the second. He is planning on spending much of the weekend in the emergency operations center downtown. "I think the preparation has gone extremely well," he said. "Most people understand that the guaranteed way to avoid aggravation is to not be in your car."

He said LA residents are organizing block parties and barbecues and are stocking up on DVDs for a weekend staycation. "Everybody's going to do it their own way."

The 53-hour closure -- which will happen again in 11 months -- is part of a $1 billion highway improvement project that involves constructing a northbound carpool lane and reconstructing the Mulholland Bridge.

Officials have been grave about the prospect of misery ahead. "There's gridlock on the 405 virtually any time of the day, but particularly during the rush hour, and if you think it's bad now, let me just make something absolutely clear: On July 16 and 17, it will be an absolute nightmare," LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said at a recent press conference.

But on Wednesday, Yaroslavsky was more upbeat. "Now it's up to the people," he said, adding: "I have confidence in Los Angeles motorists."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Los Angeles Traffic: Notoriously Awful, But About to Get Worse

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- The famed brutal traffic of Los Angeles could reach epic proportions next month in what's being dubbed "Carmageddon," when the 405 Freeway shuts down for an entire weekend.

The mayor of Los Angeles is telling drivers that it may actually be a good idea to leave town on the weekend of July 16.

“If you must commute July 16th or 17th, take an alternative route,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

“I'm actually thinking of just getting out of town completely just to avoid the whole thing,” said one driver.

For those brave enough to stick around, warning has gone out to stock up on food and to stay off the roads.

“This project should probably be renamed the nightmare on the 405,” another driver said.

Some businesses have already announced plans to close that weekend.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio