The sequel to Los Angeles' first major road construction project that involves completely closing a 10-mile stretch of the 405 Freeway , and business and tourism officials said Thursday the weekend resembles "National Lampoon's Staycation" rather than "Carmageddon II: The 405 Strikes Back."
City and county officials gathered at the Skirball Center Drive on-ramp for a press conference to outline the second closure of the $1 billion Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project. They also repeatedly warned the public to stay away from the 405 Freeway during the 53-hour closure to avoid major traffic jams. A portion of the Mulholland Bridge on the I-405 between the I-10 and U.S. 101 will be demolished during that timeframe.
In addition, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, City Councilman Paul Koretz and several transportion, public safety and tourism officials asked the public to stay home and explore their neighborhoods' businesses that weekend. Unlike the first , Metro, CalTrans and Los Angeles Department of Transportation officials said the second phase will be more complicated, and being in the fall rather than the summer, it's imperative the public take the same approach as 2011.
"Construction crews will again be battling time to complete the demolition work, only this time they'll have one-third more work in the same amount of time, so the pressure is on — big time," said Yaroslavsky. "The only thing that's yet to be determined is whether we have the public's cooperation."
Villaraigosa echoed the sentiments, crediting the media's coverage last year in warding off a massive traffic jam and allowing the freeway to reopen hours earlier than expected.
"It worked," he said. "It was probably the most successful event of its kind anywhere in the nation, and maybe in the world, because it got a great deal of attention."
This time, after studying the public's behavoir and cooperation around the first Carmageddon, Villaraigosa called upon Angelenos to think "what about another day without a car in L.A.?"
Mario Rueda, deputy chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department, said they have a multi-agency planning effort that's been going into place for months, including motorcyles and additional air ambulances. Jim Cansler, of Los Angeles Police Department Valley Bureau, said they will be working with the LAFD, and added if "anyone tries to create a YouTube moment" from Carmageddon, public safety officials will make sure that doesn't happen.
Michael Barbour, director of the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project, said the bridge work is self-supporting right now and will receive stress tests, and deconstruction will take place several weeks following Carmageddon in the fall.
Councilman Koretz noted the most, and only, complaints he received last year from constituents were the number of helicopters circling over neighborhoods.
Metrolink is providing scheduling information and additional train services during the I-405 closure at www.metrolinktrains.com. The Los Angeles World Airports created a dedicated webpage for tips and information traveling to and from LAX during Carmageddon II at www.lawa.org/lax/405.
Patch sites will be covering Carmageddon leading up to the weekend of Sept. 29-30, and through the closures as well. Subscribe to your local Patch site's daily newsletter and social media accounts to get Carmageddon news first.