A 10-mile stretch of 405 Freeway, between the 101 and 10 freeways, will be closed in both directions Friday for two days as crews demolish the north side of the Mulholland Bridge. The closures are expected to begin as early as 7 p.m. Friday, and the entire freeway stretch will be shut down by midnight. The closure is expected to continue until 5 a.m. Monday.
Last year, the first Carmageddon was a success, with virtually no traffic surrounding the closure. What if everyone assumes that everyone else is going to stay off the road, and heads out anyway this year? That could be a problem, and last year's non-Carmageddon could be a dim memory.
The northbound 405 Freeway will essentially end at the 10 Freeway, which could end up putting pressure on both freeways and clog them up. But surface streets can be your friend in that case.
Right alongside the 405 is Sepulveda Boulevard, a popular alternative for weekday commuters. It runs all the way through the Westside right up into Westwood and beyond, into the Valley -- if you dare.
But if that's clogged, a great alternate just to the west is Sawtelle Boulevard. Fewer people know about that one. But it does end at the V.A. hospital.
What if you need to pick someone up at Los Angeles International Airport? They might have scheduled a flight not knowing about the big closure. Sepulveda works well to head north, or you can peel off onto Lincoln Boulevard to get to Santa Monica or beyond.
If you need to travel into Hollywood or Beverly Hills, La Cienega Boulevard is always good bet.
As for east-west, keep a good Westside alternate in mind: Olympic Boulevard. But also keep in mind that lots of folks use Olympic as their regular alternate.
Farther south, Venice Boulevard is a great bypass to the 10: It's wide, it moves well, and it doesn't have too many traffic lights. There's just one small problem: the big Herbalife Triathlon Los Angeles starts Sunday morning at Venice Beach. After the competitors hop on their bikes, they'll be riding east on Venice. The street will be closed to vehicle traffic most of Sunday morning. The good news is that it should still be smooth sailing the rest of the weekend.
The 405 Freeway is obviously a major thoroughfare out of the Valley. When it's shut down, that could end up putting a lot of cars on the portion to the north and also onto the 101, a freeway legendary for backups. If the freeways end up being no good, stay off them.
An obvious alternative to the Ventura (101) Freeway might seem to be Ventura Boulevard. It can get overwhelmed if too many drivers have the same idea. If that happens, just head north. Burbank Boulevard is a wonderful alternative for east-west travel. It runs from Tarzana to the far eastern end of the Valley, with portions taking you through the Sepulveda Basin, where cross streets are few.
Another good choice is Vanowen Street, though it is much farther north. It spans almost the entire width of the Valley and tends to be less traveled than other major streets since it doesn't have ramps to the 405 or 170 freeways.
You should use a similar strategy for north-south travel. Sepulveda? Too obvious if traffic gets really bad. Try Balboa Boulevard to the west. It runs the whole length of the Valley. To the east, Kester or Hazeltine avenues are both good choices.
And what if you need to get out of the Valley, heading south? Here too, Sepulveda probably isn't your best option. It'll be open through the Sepulveda Pass, but keep in mind that anyone who lives within the closure area will have to use it if they need to go anywhere.
Head a bit east to Beverly Glen Boulevard, which will take you down to Sunset Boulevard. Or if you need to be west of the 405 on the Westside, Topanga Canyon Boulevard to Pacific Coast Highway is usually a good bet. But keep in mind that it's a popular route on any given weekend for people heading to the beach.