On a July weekend in 2011, the biggest story in Los Angeles was the closing of a freeway. Caltrans, the state agency responsible for California’s traffic infrastructure, had plans to rebuild a section of the 405 near the Sepulveda Pass on L.A.’s west side. But the 405 is one of the busiest freeways in the world – over 300,000 cars travel on the stretch of the 405 that connects the L.A. Basin with the San Fernando Valley each day.
‘Carmageddon’ was the name that stuck and Angelenos were sternly warned to stay away. After all the hype, work concluded early and the freeway was opened hours early on Sunday afternoon. But Hollywood loves a sequel, and this weekend Caltrans is at it again.
‘Carmageddon 2’ is scheduled to close the stretch of the 405 that connects the 10 and 101 freeways between roughly midnight on Friday night and 6 a.m. Monday morning to allow for the razing of what remains of the Mulholland Drive Bridge. Officials are once again warning Angelenos to avoid the area and cautioning about a traffic boondoggle.
"Stay out of the 5405 corridor, stay out of the I-10, the 101 freeways that feed into the 405 corridor. It's just not worth the risk of getting stuck in traffic ... that can cost you a couple hours or more," L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky told AirTalk.
He expects that, with 30 percent more work due to at least one additional column that needs to be knocked down compared to last year, construction crews will be pressed to finish on time.
But according to Yaroslavsky, "failure is not an option. We've got to be done by dawn Monday morning or we're going to have a mess on our hands."
The county supervisor has been encouraging people to bolster local businesses by eating and shopping around their own neighborhoods.
Last year, "some businesses did better and some businesses got clobbered," he said, recalling a flyover west L.A. beaches during construction. "The beach businesses along the pacific coast highway just got creamed ... it looked like a scene from 'The Beach.' There was nobody there."
Some Angelenos left their cars to dine locally – on the 405. Yaroslavsky said troublemakers won't be as lucky this time.
"The California Highway Patrol made it abundantly clear that nobody's going to be allowed to trespass onto the freeway. it's dangerous for them, and it's dangerous for construction workers, and they made it clear they wll arrest anyone who comes onto the freeway," he said.
So will Carmageddon 2 be a worthy sequel like Godfather: Part II or a more dubious follow up like Blues Brothers 2000? How are you preparing for another closing of L.A.’s most trafficked freeway?
Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles County Supervisor representing the Third District