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Carmageddon: Thousands in fines if deadline isn't met

June 30, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Beating Carmageddon- that's the goal when the 405 Freeway closes for an entire weekend through the Sepulveda Pass.

The ramps will begin shutting down at 7 p.m. on Friday July 15. The freeway closes at midnight and reopens at 6 a.m. Monday July 18.

The 53-hour closure of the freeway is planned out like a strategic military attack. The construction schedule is broken down into 15 minute blocks, so officials will know if the contractor will make the 5 a.m. Monday deadline. And just to be sure, there is a steep financial fine.

See a live cam shot of the Mulholland Bridge construction site.

"We've set up this contract up in 10 minute increments, $6,000 per direction," said Metro Executive Director Doug Failing. "So that's northbound and southbound direction, $6,000 for every 10 minutes he's late."

At $72,000 an hour, it's a pricey penalty for the contractor to miss the deadline. And for Monday morning commuters it could be grid-lock of epic proportions.

"The worst case scenario is that this is some apocalyptic backup that goes for miles, miles and miles." said Michael Manville from UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies.

Officials say they should have a good idea where the project stands by mid-Saturday, as there are several major milestones that are critical to the project.

As for the potential traffic tie-ups, nobody knows what is going to happen that fateful weekend. But traffic experts say one thing is clear.

"We don't have a good handle on our congestion problem," said Manville. "The fact is, going to close this highway for a weekend and the real possibility exists the entire surface transportation system will be paralyzed."

Transportation officials say 70 percent of drivers need to stay off the roads and highways in order to keep the traffic moving that weekend.

Beat Carmageddon with ABC7

The 405 shuts down the weekend of July 16-17, and ABC7 Eyewitness News is your home for the latest traffic news and information. Follow @abc7 and @BeatCarmageddon on Twitter, and use the hash tag #abc7traffic.

ABC7 has also partnered with Waze to help navigate the traffic. Download the Waze app, which provides free turn-by-turn GPS navigation based on the live conditions of the road. Join the community of drivers in Southern California today and beat Carmageddon.

Check out the latest Carmageddon coverage from abc7.com

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