One year ago, the drivers of Los Angeles were thrown for a loop when the 405 freeway, a major artery of the freeway system between two other major arteries, was shut down for two days. It was dubbed Carmageddon. Local airports offered flights across town. People fretted the city would come to a halt. Bikers and pedestrians who attempted to use the emptied 405 were promptly arrested.
The city didn’t fall off the planet and drivers were happy to get back on the road. They were warned that one day, the freeway would close again. That time is September 29 and30 2012. Angelenos once again are forced to plan ahead to avoid the 405 closure and the resulting traffic on the impacted freeways.
To be fair, the closure is happening on a weekend far from major holiday traffic. Only ten miles are shut down in the Malibu area so crews can demolish the Mulholland Bridge. It’s part of a project to widen the often overly burdened freeway. In fact, last year the closure ended 17 hours earlier than normal.
This year, there’s no such luck. The project is much larger and makes an early finish far less likely. While people may be prepared for a second Carmageddon, it won’t be over as quickly. It’s even prompted the beloved Getty Museum to close its doors for the entirety of the project.
Officials are concerned that because last year went so smoothly that Los Angeles drivers may get too confident and try to take advantage of the situation. Last year, people were encourage to stay off the roads in general to facilitate the movement of necessary traffic in the area. It was so successful that the roadways were as clear as they had been in decades. Now, people may not be as afraid of traffic during Carmageddon.
Drivers are urged to stay home or at least not drive their cars over the weekend of September 29. The freeway will be down for about 52 hours, according to estimates. Even the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, is encouraging people to stay local with family and friends. Hopefully, this will be a day off the roads without accident for drivers or construction crews.