More firefighters to be deployed for Carmageddon II
This post has been updated. See note below for details.
Extra firefighters and paramedics will be stationed near the 405 Freeway for this weekend's Carmageddon II, officials announced Wednesday.
[Updated 11:49 a.m., Sept. 26: Just in case Carmageddon II lives up to its name, authorities plan to deploy extra teams of firefighters and emergency medical technicians -- some atop motorcycles -- to areas serving the communities of Mountain Gate, Encino Hills, West L.A., Bel-Air and Beverly Glen, among other areas.
Carmageddon II is the popular moniker for the impending closure of a 10-mile stretch of the 405 Freeway between the 10 and 101 freeways for 53 hours starting Saturday. Workers will spend the time demolishing the remaining half of the Mulholland Drive bridge, part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project that includes widening the stretch and adding a northbound carpool lane.
The south side of the bridge was demolished during a similar closure in July 2011 and has since been rebuilt.
Officials said two motorcycle teams will also be stationed on the east and west side of the 405 Freeway "to reduce response times in neighborhoods most affected," according to a news release from Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl. An Incident Management Team will also deploy extra resources over the weekend based on real-time conditions.
Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Brian Cummings said he was confident the extra staffing and planning would help manage "any impact associated with this project," according to the release.
Rosendahl praised the effort, saying "the innovative use of motorcycle teams to respond to emergencies should shave precious minutes off an emergency medical response, and allow for the quick stabilization of a patient prior to the arrival of an ambulance crew."]
A 10-mile stretch of freeway will be shut down starting early Saturday morning and should reopen by 5 a.m. Monday. Officials have been warning motorists to stay away from the area but are taking the preventative step of deploying more safety personnel.
The extra employees will be assigned to Fire Station 109 near Mountain Gate, 99 near Bel-Air, 59 in West Los Angeles, and two staging areas near the freeway.
-- Ari Bloomekatz and Jason Song