Posts Tagged ‘Carmaggedon’


It’s only been a few days since the Carmageddon non-event in Los Angeles ended.  The 405 is back open, and the real daily nightmare of the 405 commute is back.  As usual, the freeway is clogged and the east/west arteries that go under and feed into the 405 (Santa Monica, Wilshire, Olympic, Pico, etc.) are moving at the usual snail’s pace. It still takes me around 35 minutes to drive the 9 miles from my home in West Hollywood to Santa Monica and 20th (in Santa Monica) for a 5 minute appointment.

I’ve lived in LA all my life (51 years so far) and I was here for Y2k (everyone stayed home) as well as the 1984 Olympics.  I can attest that traffic was never better in LA during the Olympics. People took vacations. Businesses changed their hours of operations and put workers on different schedules, including early/late hours, 4-day work weeks and working at home, going into the office only when needed.  People even carpooled – many for the first time ever (this was 1984).

I think the LA Times editorial page summed things up best on July 19, 2011:

Killer bees never did swarm the Southwest, the Y2K bug was squashed, the world didn’t end on May 21 and “Carmageddon” wasn’t. Now that we’ve finished freaking out about the weekend closure of 10 miles of the 405 Freeway, can we do something about the fact that it’s Carmageddon every single day in West Los Angeles?

Last weekend demonstrated that Angelenos really can change their driving behavior if they’re motivated to do so. It’s not the first time they’ve done it. During the 1984 Olympics, when the pre-event hype about traffic nightmares was at least as intense as the media warnings about Carmageddon, commuter traffic across the city was a breeze. It’s not hard to get people out of their cars during extraordinary events; the tough thing is doing it on a daily basis.

I’ve been poking around YouTube for a good time-lapse video that isn’t copyrighted by a news channel, and I found this one. It’s well shot and has some great camera positions.  It’s worth the 4 minutes and 5 seconds:

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If you don’ t live in Los Angeles, then you may not know that apocolypse is coming this weekend when the 405 Freeway(Interstate 405) is shut down over a 10 mile stretch between the US 101 and Interstate-10.  The news media has dubbed it “Carmageddon” and it is the top news on every media platform, with grave warnings of massive gridlock all weekend.

The freeway, one of the busiest, most horrible drives in the country, will be shut down for 52 hours, between Friday July 15, 2011 at 7 pm and Monday July 18, 2011 at 5 am.  We have been advised that there will be unavoidable multi-hour delays if you try and travel anywhere near this area.

Many people are planning on staying home or leaving town, but many still have to cross between the Valley and West LA for work or other necessary reasons.  It may be all media hype, but I know I don’t want to be near it.

The video clip a repurposing of some great scenes from Quentin Tarintino’s 2009 World War Two fantasy gore-fest, Inglorious Basterds.  The Adolf Hitler scenes have been used many times in various spoofs, primarily because the performances are over-the-top fabulous. Enjoy!

Below is the press release from the MTA:

Extended 53-Hour Closure of I-405 Freeway Between U.S. 101 and I-10 Planned in Mid-July for Mulholland Bridge Demolition Work.

Los Angeles, Calif. – Plan Ahead, Avoid The Area, Or Stay Home. That’s the message public safety officials are sending to the public in anticipation of a planned 10-mile, 53-hour closure of the I-405 freewaybetween the U.S. 101 and I-10 on the weekend of July 16-17, 2011 for planned demolition work on the Mulholland Bridge, part of a major I-405 improvement project.

The Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Fire Department, California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles Department of Transportation, Metro and Caltrans are informing the public in advance that if they do not have a critical need to be in or near the vicinity of the closure, they are being asked to avoid the area.

The specific freeway closure boundaries are as follows:
 Northbound I-405: 10-mile closure between I-10 and U.S. 101
 Southbound I-405: 4-mile closure between U.S. 101 and Getty Center Drive Ramps

Motorists who must travel through the Los Angeles metropolitan area are advised to use alternate freeways within the region, including the 5, 15, 23, 55, 57, 101, 118, 126, 210, 605 and 710 freeways to bypass the impacted area. In addition, public transportation options are available such as the Metro Rail service within L.A. County and Metrolink servicing the five county Southern California region. Additional alternate route information will be made available on the project web site at http://www.metro.net/405.

On Friday, July 15, ramps along the 10 mile closure will begin to be shut down as early as 7 p.m., and closure of freeway lanes will begin at 10 p.m. to ensure full freeway closure by midnight. The closure will continue until 5 a.m. Monday morning, July 18. Ramps and connectors will be reopened by 6 a.m. During this closure, the Mulholland Bridge, I-405 freeway and access ramps will be closed.

Sepulveda Boulevard is intended as an alternate route for local resident access only. Sepulveda Boulevard will not have the capacity to accommodate both local and diverted freeway traffic. Those using Sepulveda Boulevard should expect extreme congestion and lengthy delays. Motorists should instead use alternate regional freeway routes to completely bypass the Sepulveda Pass.

Traffic conditions on local streets and freeways within the region of Los Angeles County and beyond are expected to be severe, with significant, multi-hour delays. Motorists who must travel during this weekend are advised to plan ahead, monitor real-time traffic conditions prior to beginning their trips, and follow alternate routes that are provided. Motorists will be informed of the closure in advance by Caltrans-operated freeway message signs with coverage extending into neighboring counties and other metropolitan regions in the state.

Construction crews for the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project plan to demolish half the Mulholland Bridge in the Sepulveda Pass of Los Angeles in order to build a new, widened bridge, and a major carpool lane. The construction activity is part of a $1 billion capacity improvement project for the I-405 freeway.

To reduce the work’s effects on local traffic flow, the Mulholland Bridge demolition and reconstruction will be conducted in two phases. The southern side of the bridge will be demolished first, followed by approximately 11 months of south-side bridge reconstruction. Upon completion of the south side, the northern side of the bridge will be demolished and rebuilt in the same manner. Another extended freeway closure period will be required for the second phase of work approximately one year later.

The Mulholland Bridge, like the Sunset and Skirball Center bridges, must be removed and rebuilt to accommodate the widening of the I-405 freeway as part of the 10-mile northbound carpool lane construction project. The project will officially complete the northbound carpool lane network between Orange Countyand the San Fernando Valley. Additional project benefits include improved freeway safety through standardized lane and shoulder widths, greater ramp capacities at key locations, new sound and retaining walls, widened overpasses, widened and seismically updated bridges and new landscaping within the project corridor.

The $1 billion project is a joint effort between Metro and Caltrans, and is being constructed by Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. It is scheduled for completion in 2013. For latest updates visit the project web site at http://www.metro.net/405 or follow the project on twitter: twitter.com/I_405 and Facebook at facebook.com/405project.