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Carmageddon II off to a smooth start, officials say

September 28, 2012 |  8:57 pm

174454.ME.0929.carmageddon.1.BRV

The beginning of operation Carmageddon II is moving smoothly, if not better than expected, authorities said Friday evening.

Crews began closing ramps about 7 p.m. along the 10-mile closure area of the 405 Freeway between the 10 and 101 Freeways. First to close were the northbound onramp from Getty Center Drive and the northbound offramp to Skirball Center Drive.

Gus Villanueva of the Los Angeles Police Department said just before 8:30 p.m. that the work was proceeding without a hitch.

FULL COVERAGE: Carmageddon II

Later in the evening, about 10 p.m., authorities plan to start closing individual lanes on the freeway so the entire stretch can be fully shut down by midnight.

The closure is scheduled to last 53 hours. Officials hope to reopen the stretch before rush hour early Monday.

The closure will allow construction crews to demolish the remaining half of the Mulholland Drive bridge, part of a $1-billion freeway improvement project that includes adding a northbound carpool lane along that stretch of the Sepulveda Pass. There was a similar Carmageddon weekend closure in July 2011,  when crews demolished the first half of the bridge.

Chris Ipsen of the city of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department said that as of 8:30 p.m. Friday, traffic throughout the region's freeway network was light compared to a normal Friday evening. The exception was the northbound 405, which still appeared a bit congested, he said.

"Looks like people are hopefully starting to gear up to not go anywhere for the weekend," Ipsen said.

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-- Ari Bloomekatz

Photo: The northbound 405 onramp at Skirball Center Drive is closed as construction crews begin working in the Sepulveda Pass. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

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