Los Angeles prepares for 'Carmageddon 2'


Metrolink will add seven round-trip trains on its Ventura County line between Los Angeles and Chatsworth during this weekend's "Carmageddon 2" closure of the San Diego (405) Freeway between the Santa Monica (10) and Ventura (101) freeways.
Metrolink officials noted that its system had record weekend ridership during the first Carmageddon in July 2011.
The added trips on the Ventura County line will include stops in Glendale, downtown Burbank, Bob Hope Airport, Van Nuys and Northridge.
On Friday, ramps along the 405 Freeway closure area will begin shutting down as early as 7 p.m., and individual freeway lanes will close beginning at 10 p.m., with the entire freeway expected to be blocked off by midnight between the Santa Monica (10) and Ventura (101) freeways.
The closure, which will enable crews to demolish the north half of the Mulholland Bridge over the freeway, is expected to continue until 5 a.m. Monday.
Sepulveda Boulevard will be available as an alternate route during the closure for local traffic only.
The demolition and reconstruction of the Mulholland bridge is part of the $1 billion Sepulveda Pass improvement project that is adding a 10-mile northbound carpool lane and making other upgrades along the route. The project is expected to be completed next year.
A major component of the project was celebrated Monday, with the reopening of the Sunset Bridge over the freeway. The new bridge is 120 feet wide, 30 feet wider than the old span. It also has two additional traffic lanes, higher capacity on- and off-ramps and dedicated turn lanes.
"While this construction process has not been easy on anyone, the benefits are certainly worth it for anyone trying to negotiate the Sunset-405 interchange," County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said. "I'm confident these capacity improvements will better prepare the westside for the traffic demands of tomorrow."
The first Carmageddon was considered a major success, with the work finishing 17 hours early and motorists heeding the repeated warnings to avoid traveling during the weekend, leading to streets that were virtually abandoned.
Officials with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is overseeing the 405 Freeway improvement project through the Sepulveda Pass, said the ease of the first Carmageddon could lead to complacency this time around. They also warned that there likely won't be an early finish to the work during Carmageddon 2, because two sets of bridge columns must be removed, compared with one last year. The demolition work will also be more complicated because of inactive utility lines, according to Metro.
Metro and elected officials have been urging residents to stay out of their cars for the weekend, ride bikes or enjoy local attractions that don't require freeway trips.
The Getty Center, the entrance for which is located in the Sepulveda Pass, will be closed Saturday and Sunday, and open to staff only on Monday.
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