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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Carmageddon II Hits Los Angeles This Weekend! - Forbes

Jason Fogelson

Jason Fogelson, Contributor

I cover luxury automotive, motorcycles and related topics.

9/26/2012 @ 3:53PM |1,503 views

Carmageddon II Hits Los Angeles This Weekend!


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Last year, I experienced Los Angeles‘ Carmageddon and survived to tell the tale. Now, it’s time for the sequel: Carmageddon II hits the LA freeway system this weekend.

Carmageddon was the clever (or not-so clever, depending on your taste) nickname attached to the temporary closure of Interstate 405 through the Sepulveda Pass, one of the busiest stretches of freeway in the United States. The Sepulveda Pass connects the LA Basin and the San Fernando Valley, and a tie-up on the 405 can impact traffic in the entire metropolitan region. Last year, contractors Kiewit and the Penhall Company demolished and replaced the south half of the Mulholland Drive Bridge in order to facilitate the widening of the 405. The freeway was closed for 36 hours, 17 fewer than originally announced. Angelenos heeded official warnings to avoid the area, and the big event turned into a non-event, as the much-anticipated citywide gridlock failed to materialize.


Construction crews will converge on the north side of the Mulholland Drive Bridge this weekend, Saturday, September 29 through Sunday, September 30. The plan is much like last year’s event: Demolish, remove and replace the bridge while the 405 Freeway is closed to traffic. In other words: Carmageddon II.

Once again, city officials are asking the public to “Plan Ahead, Avoid the Area, or Eat, Shop and Play Locally.” Unfortunately, last year’s non-event may have bred a sense of complacency among LA’s drivers, when there’s actually more of a reason for concern. The original Carmageddon took place in July of 2011, when schools were out of session. This year’s event will have to deal with more resident college students at nearby UCLA and other campuses. MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers will play two nighttime home games against the Colorado Rockies this weekend, an event that can clog the east side of town, complicating alternate routes. Last year, the Dodgers were on the road against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the freeway closure. It doesn’t take much to upset LA’s delicate traffic ecology — and all of the elements are available this weekend to create a tremendous disturbance.

Zev Yaroslavsky participated in a live Internet chat on the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s website last Friday. Yaroslavsky, an LA County Supervisor, is a member of Metro’s Board of Directors. His advice for Angelenos concluded with the thought, “Be mindful of Carmageddon II and the role you can play in making this a nonevent in our County. Avoid the 405 corridor and its environs. Eat, Shop and Play locally and take advantage of the many discounts and packages that have been made available to the general public that weekend. We are counting on your cooperation and have an enjoyable car free weekend.”

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Will Carmageddon II be as uneventful as the original Carmageddon? This is one cliffhanger that will be answered this weekend.

Carmageddon II Hits Los Angeles This Weekend! - Forbes

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