Carmageddon is back to terrorize Los Angeles this weekend, September 28 – 30, 2012. As before, a traffic apocalypse is predicted with the closure of Interstate 405 between the intersection of the 101 Freeway and I-10 — IF people don’t stay home or drastically change their travel plans for the weekend. The closure is necessary in order to demolish the rest of the old Mulholland Drive bridge that wasn’t taken down last year.
Here’s LA Metro’s official Carmageddon II video:
Last year, the original Carmageddon was in the middle of July. I, and many other people, feared the worst and got the hell out of town to relax in sizzling hot Palm Springs. When I drove back to L.A. on Sunday, I was bracing for backups on surrounding freeways, even though I wasn’t planning on going anywhere near the 405.
What happened that weekend in July 2011 was nothing short of a miracle. People stayed home or stayed in their neighborhood and traffic was the best it’s been since the Los Angeles 1984 Summer Olympics. It was such a joy to drive on the freeways that Sunday that I shaved an extra 10 minutes off my usual drive from Palm Springs back to West Hollywood.
What will happen this time is anyone’s guess. Since it was so good last time, people may well ignore the warnings and go about their usual business, trying to get around the 405 closure by surface streets. However, the Sepulveda Pass has only one surface street – Sepulveda Blvd. – and the California Highway Patrol says that it will only be open for local traffic (i.e., people who live in the area).
All other north-south traffic between the Valley and the rest of the world is handled by the canyons: Beverly Glen, Benedict, Laurel, Coldwater and the Cahuenga Pass. Typically, like when one of the canyon passes is closed or blocked (think rain and mud slides), cross town traffic is an unmitigated disaster. Add an hour to your 30 minute drive.
Any unplanned blockage or closure of the 405 for something like a brush fire or an accident snarls traffic all around the freeway for miles in any direction as people try to jockey around and find an alternative.
Let’s hope that all the publicity surrounding Carmageddon II elicits a repeat performance by Angelenos of the first Carmageddon behavior. Stay local – eat, shop and socialize in your own neighborhood.
Here’s what drivers need to know:
- Full closure of the freeways starts at 12:01 am (midnight), Saturday September 29, 2012.
- The CHP will begin closing the freeway on ramps at 7 pm, Friday September 28, 2012.
- The northbound 405 between the 10 and the 101 freeways will be completely shut down.
- The southbound 405 will be closed from Burbank Boulevard north of the 101 all the way down to the Getty Center Drive on ramp.
- While the Sepulveda Pass is the main detour route with no lane closures, officials warn it could get saturated and advise to stay clear of it.
- Sepulveda Blvd, between the 101 and Getty Center Drive is supposed to be for local traffic only.
- The Sunset Bridge will be open, but the Skirball Bridge will be closed.
- Canyon roads and cross mountain traffic in the Valley will be heavily patrolled by LAPD (watch for motorcycle cops with radar guns).
- Officials recommend the 710 freeway as an alternate for drivers.
- Stay home or travel with a bike or use the Metro, if necessary.
- The 405 is scheduled to reopen at Monday October 1 at 5 am. (Hopefully earlier!
Last year, several people snuck on the 405 and took some funny and amazing pictures. Don’t count on getting away with it this time as the CHP will be looking for YOU. Here’s a message from the CHP:
And just for fun, we bring you “Hitler Rants About Carmageddon” from 2011. It’s particularly funny given the Apple Store and iPhone references considering the crazy sales of the latest iPhone 5 that came out only one week ago: