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Los Angeles International Airport preps travelers for 'Carmaggedon' weekend

July 5, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The dreaded "Carmageddon" weekend is coming and officials at Los Angeles International Airport are urging travelers to brace themselves for a tough drive to the airport. At LAX, officials presented several options for those who need to get to airport on time that weekend.

Starting the evening of July 15, the San Diego (405) Freeway will be closed through the weekend for 10 miles from the 10 to the 101 freeways.

The Interstate 405 Highway is one of the busiest stretches of freeway in the country and it leads right to LAX, one of the busiest airports in the country. So when the Carmageddon closure is in effect, airport officials and airlines are both bracing for a weekend full of late travelers.

Come Carmageddon weekend, when the 10-mile stretch of the 405 from the 10 to the 101 is shut down, all eyes will be on Los Angeles-area streets and freeways.

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

But the closure concern also stretches far overhead. That's because the 405 is a major conduit to LAX, the destination of hundreds of thousands of people that weekend alone.

"We are estimating about 170,000 passengers on each day, that's coming and going to LAX," said Los Angeles World Airports spokesperson Nancy Castles.

On top of all those travelers LAX has about 20,000 employees who have to get to work each day. That is why airport officials are encouraging passengers and workers to plot out a transportation plan for Carmageddon.

"Ride the rails to Union Station and catch our FlyAway [shuttle] to LAX, or ride the Green Line directly into LAX, or, if they really must drive, to really plan for several hours in advance of that," said Castles.

Passengers who miss their flights are being warned that re-booking tickets may be a problem since this is the height of the summer travel season and empty seats are at a minimum.

Southwest Airlines is already getting the word out to its passengers.

"We're sending our customers that are flying out of LAX or Burbank an email letting them know the freeways are going to be closed and to make plans accordingly," said Southwest Airlines spokesperson James Clape.

Prime Time Shuttle officials say their drivers are already versed in alternate routes around the 405 closure and they're offering a special Carmageddon deal for people headed to the airport.

"Anybody in the San Fernando Valley can get picked up at their door, to or from LAX, for $20," said Prime Time Shuttle General Manager John Kindt. "So that's about half our normal fare."

Judging by the reactions of travelers Tuesday, sharing rides, or no rides at all, are the planned response to the freeway shutdown.

"If I know people that are going that way or people that want to go that way, I'll just have them give me money for gas or I'll go with them. But other than that, I'd rather not deal with it," said Torrance resident Tony Zan.

L.A. County Metro is also offering free rides on 26 of its buses and certain rail lines on the weekend of Carmageddon.

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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