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Driving in O.C. this weekend? Prepare for the 'Orange Crush'

A traffic jam not unlike this one could be coming to Anaheim this weekend
“Carmageddon” may have been an L.A. moment, as was last month’s spin-off "Sportsageddon," when the Kings, Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers all played at home the same weekend.

But residents in Orange County could get their own traffic nightmare this weekend with the opening of Disneyland’s new "Cars" attraction, the Angels playing at home, concerts at the nearby Honda Center and the Grove of Anaheim, and a series of events at the Convention Center -- all crushed into the same Anaheim neighborhood.

Transit officials said they only realized the convergence of events earlier this week and are scrambling to get information out to commuters on potential delays, alternate routes and Metrolink schedules.

“With all these different events happening all weekend long, and with their tight proximity to each other, there are going to be impacts,” said Ted Nguyen, a spokesman for the Orange County Transportation Authority.

Nguyen says anyone traveling to Anaheim for these events should plan ahead and leave plenty of time to get there. “People understand that they’re living in Southern California, and traffic is always an issue,” says Nguyen.

The transportation authority is urging residents to use public transit to avoid the thick traffic expected on the 5, 57 and 91 freeways in the Anaheim area.

Special “Angels Express” train service from Laguna Niguel and Union Station to Anaheim station will be offered Friday evening for the baseball game, but beyond that, no additional trains or buses are scheduled to run.

Cars Land, a new 12-acre attraction at Disney’s California Adventure is set to open Friday at 9 a.m., and officials at the theme park have already hired traffic control officers from the city and freed up additional parking in anticpation of the extra park-goers.

In addition to the grand opening, Disneyland officials expect a number of Southern California passholders to flood the park during the next two Sundays –- the last two days to check out the brand-new feature before summer blackout days kick in.

“We expect it to be very popular,” said Disney spokeswoman Suzi Brown. “We know that in Southern California and particularly in Orange County, we have a lot of annual passholders ... who have been anticipating this for five years, just like we have.”

Just a few miles away, the Angels are facing the Arizona Diamondbacks Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and concerts all weekend at The Grove of Anaheim and Honda Center promise to add to the gridlock.

City officials say they’re no strangers to juggling a full calendar.

“We are adept at handling these types of occurrences and the city having events nearly at the same time,” said Sgt. Bob Dunn, and Anaheim police spokesman who says the various venues and agencies are coordinating. “We’re excited to have everybody.”

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-- Christine Mai-Duc

Photo: Transportation officials warn of traffic congrestion in Anahiem this weekend. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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