As the sun set over the Sepulveda Pass on Saturday evening, the demolition of the Mulholland Bridge and the closure of the 405 Freeway continued into the night, on schedule to reopen by Monday 5 a.m.
The demolition of part of the Mulholland Bridge is proceeding as planned as of Saturday night, according to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Two very large pieces of the bridge fell onto the freeway Saturday afternoon, one of which slowed work on half of the bridge around 5 p.m. as engineers assessed the situation.
"During demolition of a huge bridge like this, it's not unusual for pieces of all sizes to come down and though we didn't anticipate a piece this big to fall down, it's not unusual," said Dan Kulka, public relations manager for Kiewit, the project contractor.
The piece did not damage any part of the new construction and no injuries were reported. A statement from Metro officials said no delays are expected because of the incident.
Patch is providing a live blog of the entire Carmageddon II weekend, as well as a Storify with colorful tweets, news and photos from locals experiencing the 405 closure.
Not everyone heeded warnings to stay off the roads in Los Angeles. A sunny, hot day in Los Angeles proved too persuasive for some Angelenos. Heavy traffic was reported on the Westside near the closed 405 segment. A Dodgers game and a concert at L.A. Live also contributed to traffic that lasted into Saturday night. Freeway lanes and ramps closed without incident Friday night.
"We are asking people to continue to do what they have done," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who visited the construction site Saturday. "If you get in the car and come out here, it is going to be congestion like we haven’t seen. If people keep on heeding the call—they stay local, shop local, get on Metro—things are going to be okay."
Traffic could be a little worse on Sunday morning because of road closures for the Herbalife L.A. Triathlon. About 2,000 competitors will swim off Venice Beach, and bike and run to the finish line at L.A. Live, mostly along Venice Boulevard. Rolling street closures will begin as early as 4 a.m. For detour information, click here.
The first Carmageddon weekend in July 2011 was a big success for Los Angeles and county transportation officials. Crews completed the work and the freeway reopened 17 hours early, netting the contractor a $300,000 bonus while Angelenos obeyed warnings to stay off the roads for the weekend.
This year, there is no bonus if the freeway opens early—just a penalty if it opens late. Crews will work around the clock to finish before a 5 a.m. Monday deadline. If the freeway is not reopened by then, the contractor faces heavy penalties—a $6,000 fine per lane for every 10 minutes past the deadline the lane is closed and a $60,000 per minute fine if all lanes stay closed past 53 hours, according to Dave Sotero, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
While publicity for the first Carmageddon was laced with warnings of gridlock, the campaign for the second closure was more about encouraging Angelenos to stay local and off the roads. Metro officials partnered with hundreds of LA businesses who are offering deals and specials to entice residents to walk, not drive, this weekend. Still, officials tried to send a clear message to bold drivers.
"Don't test the freeways. Don't get into your car," said Chris Ipsen, emergency preparedness coordinator for the project.