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Live blog: Work finished, 405 open once again

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UPDATE Sunday 8:45 p.m.: 405 work is complete; the freeway is re-openingPermalink

The 405 Freeway Unified Command has issued the following update:

"Kiewit, the contractor, has finished the clean up process and the re-opening process of the I-405 Freeway has begun. This process started at the I-10 connector ramps and will work north to open off-ramps at 8 p.m. and all lanes of the northbound I-405 freeway are anticipated to be open by 8:45 p.m.. Once the freeway lanes are officially open, the contractor will start to open northbound on-ramps. Once the northbound lanes are open, the process will be repeated on the southbound lanes. The process of re-opening the entire I-405 Freeway will take approximately three hours.

"The Unified Command would like to thank Los Angeles residents for heeding the warning to avoid the Sepulveda Pass area and making Carmageddon II a success."

UPDATE Sunday 5:15 p.m.: Officials: Triathlon would have been a traffic problem with or without Carmageddon | Permalink

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was asked at a press conference about traffic caused by the Herbalife Triathlon the same weekend as Carmageddon 2.

"I understand the concerns," Villaraigosa said. "The agreement for it was consummated a long time ago, and this project was supposed to happen earlier in the summer, but the delays created the situation where we have to do it this weekend."

The triathlon was scheduled between eight and 10 months ago, according to officials, with Carmageddon 2's final date not set until later.

Villaraigosa said that next weekend, the shuttle Endeavour is going to be moving through L.A., and that there's something in L.A. every weekend, from Dodger games to Hollywood Bowl concerts.

"The triathlon and Carmageddon really did not conflict with one another," L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said at the press conference. "The triathlon is trouble enough when it happens."

He said that would have been the case with or without Carmageddon.

Villaraigosa said that there were some concerns during the Carmageddon construction, with officials on pins and needles, but that it all worked out.

— Mike Roe

UPDATE Sunday 5:05 p.m.: Mayor Villaraigosa: Mulholland Bridge destruction complete | Permalink

At a 5 p.m. press conference, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called the Carmageddon 2 closure a “resounding success.” Still, the 405 won't reopen early — it's still set for 5 a.m.

“The bridge is completely demolished and the cleanup work continues. We are on schedule to reopen the freeway in time for tomorrow morning’s commute,” Villaraigosa said.

Villaraigosa said that the hope that it would turn out to be “Carmaheaven” came true. he said that the real stars were motorists who stayed off the roads to allow the construction to be completed.

Villaraigosa was joined by others, including L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.

— Mike Roe

UPDATE Sunday 4:15 p.m.: Carmageddon not much of a problem at events in Studio City, West Hollywood | Permalink

UPDATE Sunday 3:39 p.m.: Triathlon scheduled before Carmageddon 2 was; no one suggested rescheduling triathlon | Permalink

What do you get when you close a major freeway, then split the city in half for a bicycle race? Carmageddon 2 met "Triathlonasaurus" Sunday with the Herbalife Triathlon, and the result wasn't pretty. The only northbound bridge over the 20 mile wide triathlon on the 405 Freeway was blocked by cars waiting to go around Carmageddon.

A spokeswoman/planner for Herbalife told KNX that they coordinated with LAPD and no one had suggested rescheduling the triathlon. L.A. City Councilman Dennis Zine told KNX that the triathlon was scheduled before Carmageddon 2 was scheduled.

— Brian Watt with wires

UPDATE Sunday 3:23 p.m.: News conference comes 5 hours early, but no early reopening | Permalink

In an LAPD media alert, officials were sure to make clear that the 405 won't be opening at 5 p.m.

"The purpose of the press conference is to give a demolition status update only. Motorists are still advised to stay away from the I-405 and off the regional freeway system as much as possible to avoid traffic congestion impacts throughout the Los Angeles region," the release said.

The release said that most motorists had cooperated with authorities by staying off the roads.

"We continue to ask for the public's full and complete cooperation because demolition and other related construction and maintenance activities are NOT yet complete."

— Mike Roe

UPDATE Sunday 12:49 p.m.: 300 tons of steel, 2,700 cubic yards of concrete from Mulholland Bridge to get second life | Permalink

Three hundred tons of steel; 2,700 cubic yards of concrete. That’s a sense of the pile of debris that crews are carting away from the demolished Mulholland Bridge this weekend.


Los Angeles Metro spokesman Marc Littman said the leftovers will be put to good use.

“The concrete, they crush it and use as aggregate base for new freeway lanes. We used some of that last year for our Orange Line busway extension to Chatsworth. The steel is melted down and re-rolled as sheets. So it’s very sustainable.”

Littman said each of the four columns demolished on the bridge this weekend weighs at least 1 million pounds.

Crews are currently working on schedule and expect to be ready to reopen the 405 freeway at 5 a.m. Monday.

— Brian Watt

UPDATE Sunday 12:44 p.m.: Should the 405 reopen early if they finish scheduled work early? | Permalink

While officials have been trying to downplay the possibility of an early opening, do you think they should reopen the 405 early if the scheduled work gets done ahead of schedule, or wait until the planned 5 a.m. Monday opening?

Let us know in the comments.

UPDATE Sunday 12:35 p.m.: Triathlon beats Carmageddon for traffic headaches | Permalink

As bad as the 405 closure was, it was not the big Westside traffic disaster of the day. That honor went to the 13th annual Herbalife Triathlon, which caused every single north-south street from Venice Beach to downtown Los Angeles to be closed from 7 a.m. until at least 11.

The only northbound route on the westside was the 405, which passes above Venice but was closed one mile north at the Santa Monica (10) Freeway for the Carmageddon project. Traffic from the six-lane-wide 405 was diverted into one lane ramps onto each direction of the 10.

The 10 also passes above Venice, but exit ramps were jammed all across the Westside as motorists tried to get around the bike race segment of the triathlon.

“My tip line is burning up with people who say they can’t go north to south,” said KNX traffic reporter Tommy Jackson. Hundreds of motorists were stuck en route to church or Sunday breakfast, as an impregnable line of street closures stretched on every surface street across central L.A.

— KPCC wire services

UPDATE Sunday 11:42 a.m.: Carmageddon news conferenced moved up 5 hours — work ahead of schedule? | Permalink

A news conference on the status of Carmageddon 2 originally scheduled for 10 p.m. Sunday has been moved ahead to 5 p.m., prompting speculation that construction crews are ahead of schedule. At a briefing to update the media shortly before 11 a.m., Los Angeles Metro spokesman Marc Littman tried to downplay the possibility of an early finish.

“I know everybody is speculating: ‘Geez, are you finishing early?’” Littman said. "The official word is that we’re on schedule.”

Littman said there’s a lot of work going on away from the Mulholland Bridge that the media can’t see. For example, crews have spent the morning repaving the freeway lanes between the Skirball Center and the Mulholland Bridge. That involves pouring concrete, he said, and it takes 12 hours for that concrete to cure.

Caltrans spokesman Patrick Chandler said Carmageddon 2 has been very productive. “We’ve been able to accomplish almost seven weeks of maintenance that we normally wouldn’t be able to do,” Chandler explained. “So this closure has been very ideal for us. So, basically seven weeks of work in 48 hours or less.”

— Brian Watt

UPDATE Sunday 10:24 a.m.: Newlyweds, rollerbladers caught Carmageddon trespassing on closed 405 | Permalink

 A newlywed couple added getting detained by the California Highway Patrol on the closed 405 Freeway to their wedding night festivities Sunday.

The couple was spotted at 3:40 a.m. on the closed southbound 405 freeway onramp at Sunset Boulevard. They were cited and released, said CHP Officer Charmaine Fajardo.

A quartet of rollerbladers was also cited for trespassing as they exited on the southbound 405 offramp at Getty Center Drive. One other pedestrian was cited for a clandestine romp on the freeway as well.

Caltrans workers were busy all weekend along the 10-mile closure zone, performing a compressed seven months’ worth of maintenance and construction work during the 53-hour closure. Part of the work entailed large trucks, creating certain danger for trespassers who would be unknown or unseen to the crews, CHP officers said. “Workers were still out there re-striping the Getty Center Drive onramp,” Fajardo said. “We urge pedestrians to stay away.”

— KPCC wire services

UPDATE Sunday 9:47 a.m.: One column left in Mulholland Bridge destruction | Permalink

 The demolition crew on the Mulholland Bridge recovered from a snag Saturday and worked through the night. The project at the center of Carmageddon 2 remains on schedule with less than 24 hours to go.

Late Saturday afternoon, a large chunk of the Mulholland Bridge on the eastern end fell down on its own and landed on the embankment. That halted the demolition for about an hour while engineers examined the chunk and made sure they could keep working the way they had planned.

Once back at work, the crew demolished two columns overnight. They turned their attention to two columns this morning, and now only one remains on the west side of the bridge, with hoe rams pounding away at it.

Workers had to be careful while taking down the eastern column, taking it down bit by bit. "They’re being very careful because of worries about it falling into the new portion of the bridge," a Los Angeles Metro spokeswoman said.

The new portion is the south side of the bridge, which has been under reconstruction for the last 14 months after crews demolished it during the first Carmageddon.

“When you’re demolishing something right next to something that’s brand new, you need to be very careful," Upton said. Nonetheless, the work is on schedule, she added.

Meanwhile, Caltrans crews continue to make headway on improvements on other parts of the closed 405.

The California Highway Patrol cited and detained three people Sunday morning for trespassing on the 405, including a newlywed couple.

— Brian Watt

Updated On Saturday at 8:00 p.m. Permalink

There was a slight snafu in the deconstruction of the Mulhulland bridge today, Metro reports. Earlier this afternooon, a chunk of the bridge being demolished collapsed, causing engineers to halt some of the work to assess the damage. An alert from Metro sent at 6:26 p.m. stated:

Within the past hour a large section of the Mulholland Bridge that is being demolished fell down. This morning another large piece dropped. This is not cause for concern. It did not damage the newly constructed portion of the bridge nor should it cause any delays. The contractor usually cuts the sections into smaller pieces. Structural safety engineers are currently assessing how the large section can be safely demolished.

Officials quickly determined that work could continue, the L.A. Times reported. Officials don't expect the fall to imapct the 5 a.m. reopening Monday. 

NBCLA reported on the collapse. Watch the report here: 

Updated on Saturday at 4:58 p.m. | Permalink


Updated on Saturday at 4:28 p.m. | Permalink

L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa, with media on fast lane of closed 405, says crew is about "an hour" ahead of schedule. He says he doesn't expect an early 405 opening this time around. But an on-time opening is anticipated. The mayor, wearing a yellow reflective vest says fire and emergency crews are standing by on streets surrounding the 405 to handle emergencies. And he playfully suggests the media food in the Carmageddon tent is less than desirable.

- Stephanie O'Neill 

Updated on Saturday at 4:13 p.m. | Permalink


Updated on Saturday at 4:01 p.m. | Permalink

Not only are things going smoothly, but the demolition process is going ahead of schedule.


Updated on Saturday at 3:17 p.m. | Permalink

Traffic seems to still be going smoothly at the detour near the Santa Monica freeway:



Updated on Saturday at 2:42 p.m. | Permalink

Dave Sotero of Metro just tweeted out this overhead shot looking south from the top of the Angelino Hotel. "That's the newly rebuilt Sunset Boulevard bridge in the foreground with the empty 405 running underneath.," he wrote.

Updated on Saturday at 1:52 p.m. | Permalink

NBC LA is streaming the construction on the 405. Their camera is positioned on the east side of the freeway and facing south.

Updated on Saturday at 12:58 p.m. | Permalink

Workers discuss the work while in the shade of a huge truck on the closed 405.

- Grant Slater

Updated on Saturday at 12:10 p.m. | Permalink

The LAPD is reporting that progress is "on schedule and things are going well. Demolition of the center span (over the freeway) is nearly complete. Slotting of the top desk on the two outer spans is 40 percent complete."

- Tony Pierce

Updated on Saturday at 11:53 a.m. | Permalink

Los Angeles City Fire Department spokesman Captain Alicia Mathis and K.N. Murthy of Los Angeles Metro briefed the media on progress shortly before 11 a.m. Neither could avoid using entertainment analogies.

“Thus far, Carmageddon II is an excellent sequel,” Captain Mathis said, as the hoe rams continued chipping away at the Mulholland Bridge behind her. “We have had no major incidents to report at this time, and once again, the media and the L.A. city community has done it, stayed off the freeways, stayed local.”

Mathis said fire officials are keeping tabs on the weather as temperatures are expected to rise today and go even higher on Sunday. “We have our brush patrols and motor patrols all up around the hillsides, with additional engines, water tenders, a number of extra resources available,” she said.

K.N. Murthy, the Executive Director of Transit Projects for Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority said based on the lessons learned in Carmageddon I, the preparatory work has been exemplary.

“The whole 53 hours have been scripted like a play, and we are following the script,” said Murthy. At that moment, he said, crews were slightly ahead of schedule but added “this is just a snapshot of everything that we need to do.”

- Brian Watt

Updated on Saturday at 11:22 a.m. | Permalink

LA DOT says the canyon roads are flowing smoothly - although they are still encouraging people to use alternate freeway routes. They also say no problems have been reported on surface streets.

- Rob Strauss

Updated on Saturday at 9:43 a.m. | Permalink

Motorists in the Los Angeles region appear to be heeding the call to stay from the 405 so far

California HIghway Patrol spokesman Ming Hsu told KPCC that freeway traffic is running very smoothly, not just near the 405 but throughout the Los Angeles region. 

- Brian Watt

Updated on Saturday at 8:20 a.m. | Permalink

Carmageddon II is right on schedule as crews begin demolition of north side of Mulholland Bridge.

A spokesman for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transporation Authority says The Demolition of the north side Mulholland Bridge is officially on schedule. 

With the 405 freeway shut down in West Los Angeles, crews began moving a range of heavy equipment onto the freeway just after midnight to start the demolition of the north side of the Mulholland Bridge. The first task was to put a 4-foot high pile of dirt under the bridge to protect the freeway from debris that will be falling away from the north side of the Mulholland Bridge for much of the weekend. 

Then crews rolled the excavators – giant jackhammers – on to the deck of the bridge, and started punching holes in the bridge from the top. By 6:00am, the hoe rams had taken spots on the ground below, pulverizing from the bottom. The hoe rams have arms that stretch 80 feet high, the height of the bridge.

“They’ll work from the center out to the sides," says Marc Littman, spokesman for the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority.  "They’ll take out the deck, then they’ll take out a bent cap that connects the four columns." 

Four columns is twice as many as the crew had to remove during the first round of Carmageddon.  In total, LA Metro estimates there is 30 percent more work this time than last and therefore they don't predict an early finish. 
CALTRANS is also taking advantage of the extended closure to do maintenance work on other stretches of the freeway.  

CALTRANS spokesman Patrick Chandler says crews will be

-Repairing potholes 
-fixing cracked ceilings
-installing new reflectors and new signage.

He says it's a chance for crews to work in a safer environment. 

- Brian Watt

Updated on Friday at 7:00 p.m. | Permalink

Crews are starting to close on-and-off ramps to the 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass as Carmageddon 2 gets underway. Lanes will start closing down at 10 p.m. and be fully empty by midnight. 

If you want to watch the whole thing unfold, there are several stations with livecams set up, so crack open a beverage, kick up your feet, and click on over to Metro's website to watch the magic unfold. 

- Corey Moore

Updated on Friday at 6:45 p.m. | Permalink

Crews will begin shutting down ramps along the 405 Freeway in 15 minutes. Four hundred traffic officers, 470 police officers and over 200 firefighters and 76 traffic engineers have been deployed.

The mayor joined traffic officials earlier in the day to encourage Angelenos to eat, shop and play their own neighborhoods this weekend, and encouraged them to take a bus or train. The full shutdown of a stretch of north and southbound 405 will begin in earnest at midnight. 

- Corey Moore 

Check out KPCC's full coverage of Carmageddon 2


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