Carmageddon II slated for last weekend of September


The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority made the announcement on Thursday that on the last weekend of September, a 10-mile stretch of the 405 Freeway will be closed in both directions trough the Sepulveda Pass for a total of 53 hours between the 10 and 101 freeways for Carmageddon II.

MTA officials say the closure will impact nearly 250,000 motorists, and law enforcement officials are urging commuters to make advanced plans and use alternate routes to completely bypass the area during construction.

Carmageddon I took place last summer when the 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass was shut down for a weekend so crews could dismantle the south side of the Mulholland Bridge. The upcoming closure will allow contractors to demolish the remaining side of the Mulholland Bridge over the freeway.

The closure is slated to start Sept. 28 as early as 7 p.m. Individual freeway lanes will shut down around 10 p.m. with the entire freeway expected to be closed by midnight between the 10 and 101 freeways. The closure is expected to be lifted by 5 a.m. Oct. 1 with connectors opening by 6 a.m. Construction finished early last year, but MTA officials say that's not a likely scenario this time because the demolition work is more complicated.

Carmageddon I went smoothly, and officials hope the second phase of the project will go just as well. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called on Angelenos to turn "Carmageddon into 'Carmaheaven'" by spending a car-light or car-free weekend with family and friends.

The success of Carmageddon I is the very reason the potential for gridlock is higher this time around. MTA officials say people may have grown more apathetic since Carmageddon I went off without a hitch. In addition, more motorists may be tempted to get on the roads, not expecting high traffic volumes. That could backfire and cause heavy congestion on local roads and freeways.

The demolition and reconstruction of the Mulholland bridge is part of the $1 billion Sepulveda Pass improvement project that's adding a 10-mile northbound carpool lane and making other upgrades along the route. The project is expected to be completed next year.

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