Southern California breaking news and trends

Carmageddon 2: The end of the world returns Sept. 29-30 to the 405 freeway

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Grant Slater/KPCC

Drivers made their way back onto a section of the 405 freeway that had been shut down for much of the weekend.

Mark your doomsday datebooks, Metro has announced that the I-405 Freeway will be closed in both directions, between the 10 and the 101, over the weekend of Sept. 29-30. Plan dinner parties accordingly.

Carmageddon 2: Congestion Boogaloo will take the form of a 10-mile closure for 53 consecutive hours as work on the Sepulveda Pass continues. The portion of closed freeway typically touches tires with about half a million motorists on a normal weekend, says Metro. 

During the shutdown, workers will be demolishing the rest of the Mulholland Drive bridge. Drivers across the state are being advised to "Plan Ahead, Avoid the Area, or Eat, Shop and Play Locally."

Last July's Carmageddon closure wrapped up 17 hours ahead of schedule. Thursday's announcement did not include the same hopefulness, noting, "The contractor is unlikely to complete the work early because it has more demolition work to perform within the same 53-hour period."

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Metro, the FBI and why Carmageddon 2 is running late

Los Angeles's 405 Freeway Closes Completely For Bridge Repair

David McNew/Getty Images

Part II of the end of the world is going to be a little late. 

Carmegeddon 2 has been delayed, says Metro spokesman Marc Littman. He's referring to plans to completely shut down a section of the 405 for a whole weekend, just like last summer, in order to complete work on the Mulholland Bridge.

The date for starting construction has been held up by unforeseen utility work and a $300 million lawsuit, reports the Daily News.

One unexepected issue is the need to remove utility poles, and the resulting demand by the FBI — working out of the building on 11000 Wilshire Boulevard near the construction site — that "Metro workers go through security clearance before working on the sensitive FBI lines," Littman told KPCC.

Metro hopes to continue phase two of the Mulholland Bridge work by the end of the summer. The construction is part of the $1 billion Sepulveda Pass Improvement Project that will see 10 miles of carpool lanes added to the northbound 405, three bridges rebuilt and upgrades to on- and off-ramps (aka the Rampture).

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The Rampture? 405 Freeway ramp closures to bring Carmageddon cousin

Screen capture via GoogleMaps

If you're thinking of taking this exit come next month, think again. Wilshire Boulevard's 405 freeway ramps will be closed for 90 days starting June 22.

We survived "Carmageddon," but are we ready for an extended spin-off of long-term closures when the 405 freeway's Wilshire Blvd. ramps project begins next month? Also, what will we name this new traffic calamity?

Metro is preparing to construct 30-foot flyaway ramps in hopes of replacing the constantly jammed intersections that currently lead onto the freeway, they explained in a video:

County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who explains the ramp closures in detail, blogged that the construction will take 90 days and start on June 22.

According to the L.A. Weekly, Yaroslavsky first coined the staying name of this construction project's older brother. "Carmageddon" was an instant hit, but this time media outlets have yet to settle on a moniker. While an LA Curbed reporter jumped on dubbing the 405 freeway ramp's second overhaul "The Rampture," the L.A. Times seems to be going with "Carmageddon II."

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Did Carmageddon drive up the local birthrate?

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Photo by Alipyon via Flickr Creative Commons

A small wave of local newborns may be pointing to a pocket of parents that opted to get down when they couldn't get out during last summer's "Carmageddon."

NBC LA has been working with Cedars-Sinai medical center, "where more babies are born west of the Mississippi than anywhere else in the country," to try and determine if there is an actual, quantifiable post-Carmageddon spike in regional birthrate.

"Our prenatal classes are fuller than they often are, so it may be a premonition that there might be more women delivering nine months after Carmageddon,” said Dr. Sarah Kilpatrick, chair of the OB/GYN department.

Carmageddon, last July's 405 freeway shutdown, kept many people in their neighborhoods lest they face a traffic snarl of biblical proportions. 

LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky is skeptical about the alleged baby boom, noting, "they said the same thing about the power failure back in New York City in the 1960s. Turned out to be a myth. I suspect it will turn out to be a myth here."

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405 freeway closures: 'Not on the same scale' as Carmageddon, says Metro

Los Angeles's 405 Freeway Closes Completely For Bridge Repair

David McNew/Getty Images

Carmageddon, meet Schlepgate. The same stretch of 405 freeway that closed in an end-of-days campaign last July will be worked on again, but this time only at night.

In total, six nights of Sepulveda Pass closures are planned for the portion of the freeway between the 101 and Getty Center Drive. Work will begin on the northbound lanes Friday night, with ramp shutdowns starting at 7 p.m. and lane closures starting at 10 p.m.

We talked to Metro spokesperson Marc Littman and asked why there seemed to be much less fanfare and public outreach about the upcoming closures.

The closures are expected to disrupt significantly fewer drivers than last summer's full freeway stoppage, Littman said, because the construction is being done one side at a time, and late at night from midnight to 5 a.m.

He called the situation "not on the same scale" as the Carmageddon stoppage though "it will be on the same scale next summer." City offices and media outlets were notified, he emphasized, pointing the public to information and detour maps on the Metro site.

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