Carmageddon II freeway closure goes smoothly; bridge demolition to begin
The closure of a 10-mile section of the 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass was completed just after midnight Saturday morning with no reports of traffic snarls or other problems, officials said.
Motorists are being advised to stay away from the area for the enitre Carmageddon II weekend to avoid creating gridlock on nearby streets and canyon roads, as well as other freeways. Planners say 185,000 trips through the area need to be eliminated to prevent major traffic tie ups.
The shutdown of the busy north-south freeway artery marked the beginning of a carefully choreographed weekend of demolition of part of the Mullholland Drive bridge. Work crews were preparing to move in and begin covering the freeway beneath the bridge with 4 feet of dirt to protect it from falling steel and concrete as half the span is demolished beginning early Saturday morning.
Heavy equipment, including large excavators with ramming hoes, will begin breaking up and pulling down the top section of the bridge. Starting late Saturday or early Sunday, concrete support columns will be removed. In all, the freeway is expected to be closed between the 10 and 101 freeways for 53 hours, reopening before rush hour Monday morning.
The entire northbound 405 Freeway between the 10 and 101 Freeways is closed, but the southbound side is closed only from the 101 Freeway to Getty Center Drive.
The work is part of a $1-billion project that includes widening the freeway to add a northbound carpool lane through part of the Sepulveda Pass.
Photos: Team leader Cpt. Martin Enriquez prepares for Carmageddon II in front of screens showing Interstate 405 traffic at the Emergency Operations Center in Los Angeles. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images