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Category: Carmageddon

Carmageddon II: Only-in-L.A. events charm some folks

FULL COVERAGE: Carmageddon II

Sitting near a fountain at The Grove on Saturday morning with sunglasses and a smile, Morgan Land couldn't think of anything he'd dread more than sitting in traffic on the 405 Freeway this weekend.

"I plan my day so I don't have to be in traffic," said Morgan, 40, a screenwriter. "It's hard to relax in traffic. It's a nightmarish scenario. My time is precious to me."

Land said he hated the idea of venturing into Carmageddon II traffic because the thought that there would be "no way out" was traumatizing. Transit officials have closed a 10-mile stretch of the 405 this weekend as part of a $1-billion widening project.

FULL COVERAGE: Carmageddon II

On Saturday, Land sat with his 1-year-old daughter, Betsy, enjoying the sunshine after a short walk from his home nearby. His parents, Bob Land, 71, and Rochelle Land, 66, have been talking about Carmageddon II for weeks because another son was driving in from San Diego on Saturday to catch a Sunday flight to Hawaii.

The trip was planned long before he found out Carmageddon II was on the same weekend. But Rochelle said her son wasn't too concerned because the first Carmageddon wasn't bad.

Bob, who works as an attorney in Philadelphia, heard about Carmageddon II on the East Coast. It made the news there as well.

"It's a big deal" when the car culture in Los Angeles is affected, he said.

To Rochelle, there's a certain Los Angeles charm to big events like Carmageddon and the fuss they create.

"Look what they did with the rock at [the Los Angeles County Museum of Art] and the space shuttle," she said. "It's crazy. That's why I love it."

ALSO:

Carmageddon II: Leave car at home, get a discount at LACMA

Carmageddon II: Businesses celebrate with burgers, breakfast

Carmageddon II: Motorists can get updates by cellphone, email

-- Hailey Branson-Potts

twitter.com/haileybranson

Photo: All lanes of the 405 Freeway are empty except for construction trucks as crews continue to demolish a portion of the Mulholland Drive bridge along the 405 Freeway Saturday. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Carmageddon II: Contractor faces stiff fines for missing deadline

PHOTOS: Carmageddon II

The contractor for the 405 Freeway weekend bridge-demolition project will face severe financial penalties if even a portion of the shuttered freeway doesn't reopen in time for Monday morning rush hour.

Authorities late Friday closed a 10-mile stretch of the 405, between the 10 and 101 freeways, for 53 hours so that construction crews can demolish the remaining half of the Mulholland Drive bridge in the Sepulveda Pass, part of a larger freeway-widening project.

PHOTOS: Carmageddon II

The freeway is scheduled to reopen Monday at 5 a.m. and the contractor will be fined $6,000 every 10 minutes for each of the 10 lanes that remains closed, according to Rick Jager of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

That means the contractor could be fined a maximum of $360,000 an hour if all the lanes remain closed past the deadline.

ALSO:

Carmageddon II: Road crews already hard at work

Carmageddon II: More street closures Sunday for triathlon

Carmageddon II: For traffic control center, it's time to shine

-- Ari Bloomekatz

Photo: Crews demolish part of the Mullholland Drive bridge on Saturday morning. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Live discussion: Is it Carmageddon II or Carmaheaven?

The 405 Freeway closure known as "Carmageddon II" is in full swing, as crews work to demolish the northern half of the Mulholland Drive bridge as part of a $1-billion project that includes adding a carpool lane to the freeway below.

Times' reporter Matt Stevens will join city editor Shelby Grad for an update on the status of this second closure of 10 miles of the 405 Freeway at 1 p.m. PST.

So far, the closure of one of the nation's busiest freeways appears to be going off without a hitch. Demolishing and rebuilding the bridge is part of a $1-billion freeway improvement project that includes adding a 10-mile northbound carpool lane through the Sepulveda Pass.

FULL COVERAGE: Carmageddon II

Early Saturday, crews will dump 1,200 cubic yards of dirt underneath the 80-foot-tall Mulholland Drive bridge so that falling debris does not damage the freeway roadbed below.

The next steps over the weekend include using jackhammers to ram and punch through the top of the bridge in a process called "slotting," while other jackhammers will be used to chip away at girders underneath the bridge. Concrete must be removed from both the center and outer spans of the bridge, officials said.

Transportation officials are encouraging residents to "avoid the area, or eat, shop and play locally."

Let us know how you're spending the weekend by tweeting @LANow or submitting your photos here, and be sure to let us know where you are!

RELATED:

Carmageddon II: Road crews already hard at work

Carmageddon II: More street closures Sunday for triathlon

Carmageddon II: For traffic control center, it's time to shine

--Samantha Schaefer

Carmageddon II: Officials worry about Sepulveda truck traffic

PHOTOS: Carmageddon II

Authorities are worried that large commercial trucks may spoil what so far has been relatively smooth-flowing traffic during this weekend's 10-mile closure of the 405 Freeway.

The 405 was shut down between the 10 and 101 freeways for 53 hours starting Saturday so that construction crews can demolish the remaining half of the Mulholland Drive bridge, part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project that includes adding a northbound carpool lane along the Sepulveda Pass.

PHOTOS: Carmageddon II

Fearing gridlock because of the closure, officials have called for motorists to stay off the road this weekend unless absolutely necessary. Approximately 250,000 motorists use the closed portion of the 405 each day on an average weekend and officials say they need two-thirds of those drivers to avoid the area.

Lt. Andy Neiman of the Los Angeles Police Department said there have been reports that large commercial trucks are using Sepulveda Boulevard to try and bypass the freeway closure, but that poses problems because of a tunnel along that stretch and because the road is restricted to certain heights and weights.

FULL COVERAGE: Carmageddon II

"We absolutely cannot have that," Neiman said, adding that he worries the trucks could cause a traffic jam or other problems.

"The concern is if those trucks break down, damage the roadway, damage the tunnel or get stuck, it becomes a huge issue for the community," Neiman said.

ALSO:

Officials caution drivers on Carmageddon II

Live discussion: Mayor Villaraigosa talks Carmageddon II

Carmageddon II: More street closures Sunday for triathlon

-- Ari Bloomekatz

Photo: A bicyclist stops at a designated viewing area to watch the demolition of part of the Mullholland Drive bridge on Saturday morning. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Carmageddon II: Businesses celebrate with burgers, breakfast

A big, white banner outside Blue Dog Beer Tavern near the 405 Freeway in Sherman Oaks touts the "Carmaggedon Burger."

Nearby, Whole Foods Market is hosting a Carmageddon II pancake breakfast for people who drop off perishable foods at a stand outside the grocery store.

And a block away, a bright orange sign lures locals to a garage sale. The sellers hope the 10-mile freeway closure this weekend can provide a shot in the arm for business.

"We figured people would be staying in the Valley," Jill Sanders said, as she took three dollar bills from a customer and shoved them inside her fanny pack.

FULL COVERAGE: Carmageddon II

At the top of their driveway near a blocked-off 405 Freeway entrance ramp, Jill’s son, 7-year-old Matthew Sanders, stood behind a piece of cardboard that read "Lemonade and cookies. 50 cents."

Construction workers meanwhile continued their work on the closed stretch of the 405, part of a widening project that will include adding a carpool lane. Officials from Caltrans and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation said that, as of about 9 a.m. Saturday, traffic remained light on side streets around the work area. By that time, several people had already stopped by the Sanders’ sale.

"People are cutting through here, so we figured we should take advantage of it," Jill Sanders said.

Although TV helicopters hovering overhead reminded the family of the construction, for Sanders, Carmageddon II was no longer the day's biggest news.

"He just sold an Italian bike I've been trying to get rid of for 10 years," Jill said, pointing to husband Scott. "This is what's a breaking news story."

ALSO:

Officials caution drivers on Carmageddon II

Live discussion: Mayor Villaraigosa talks Carmageddon II

Carmageddon II: More street closures Sunday for triathlon

-- Marisa Gerber and Matt Stevens

Carmageddon II: Leave car at home, get a discount at LACMA

Florence Mesker is drawfed by artist Michael Heizer's, "Levitated Mass," which opened to the public at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in June.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is encouraging people to avoid Carmageddon II, leave their vehicles at home and visit the museum this weekend at half the cost.

A 10-mile stretch of the 405 Freeway is shut down this weekend so that workers can demolish a portion of the Mullholland Drive bridge so the freeway can be widened to make room for a new carpool lane. Officials have asked motorists to avoid the area.   

"What better weekend to leave you car at home and embrace alternative modes of transportation," the museum's website says.

FULL COVERAGE: Carmageddon II

LACMA is offering half-off general admission Saturday and Sunday to those who tell the ticket office they took an alternate mode of transportation, such as walking, biking or taking a bus.

The museum also is offering numerous free programs and tours throughout the weekend.

Florentino Coronado Jr., 68, a museum security officer, brought his electric bike to work Saturday morning from his home in Hollywood and is glad he doesn't have to worry about possible Carmageddon traffic on his way home this afternoon.

He's glad the construction on the 405 is happening on a weekend. The freeway, which is closed between the 10 and 101 freeways, is scheduled to reopen at 5 a.m. Monday.

"On Monday, everyone will want to go on the freeway," he said.

Overall, though, he's not too worried about Carmageddon. He watched news reports Saturday morning, but he laughed while talking about last year's Carmageddon.

"It wasn't too bad," he said.

ALSO:

L.A. football stadium plan still faces major hurdles

Major taxiway at LAX closed because of water main break

Actor Johnny Lewis is called 'out of control' in court records

-- Hailey Branson-Potts at LACMA

 Twitter.com/haileybranson

Photo: Florence Mesker is dwarfed by artist Michael Heizer's "Levitated Mass," which opened to the public at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in June. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Carmageddon II: Motorists can get updates by cellphone, email

FULL COVERAGE: Carmageddon II

While the 405 Freeway is shut down this weekend between the 10 and 101 freeways, motorists can get some of their own Carmageddon II updates via their cellphones and email.

Motorists can get the latest information via the Nixle notification service by texting the keyword "405FWY" to 888-777, or by registering at the Nixle website for email updates.

FULL COVERAGE: Carmageddon II

Workers have 53 hours to complete demolition work on the northbound lanes of the Mulholland Drive bridge so that the freeway can be widened to accommodate a new carpool lane. The section of the 405 between between the 10 and 101 freeways will remain closed until 5 a.m. Monday.

ALSO:

L.A. football stadium plan still faces major hurdles

Major taxiway at LAX closed because of water main break

Actor Johnny Lewis is called 'out of control' in court records

-- Ari Bloomekatz

Photo: Heavy equipment, including large excavators with ramming hoes, demolish part of the Mullholland Drive bridge Saturday morning. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Carmageddon II: Motorists find ways to cope with freeway closure

Some Southern California motorists were taking the temporary closure of a portion of the 405 Freeway in stride early Saturday, finding alternative routes to get to work or skip town. 

Olga Malysheva, 27, glanced at the clock on her cellphone as she filled up with gas at a Mobil off Sepulveda Boulevard in Sherman Oaks about 9 a.m.

Malysheva is a nurse at a hair-removal clinic in Manhattan Beach and was hoping to avoid Carmageddon II, the closure of the 405 Freeway between the 10 and 101 freeways this weekend. The freeway -- the busiest in the nation -- is closed so that a bridge can be removed to allowing for the widening of the freeway to add a new carpool lane.

FULL COVERAGE: Carmageddon II

"I wish I could not go to work today, but no," said Malysheva, who said she gave herself an extra 40 minutes to commute. "I'll take Sepulveda, I guess. I have no choice."

For Carmageddon II, Rene Ghotanian and his 5-year-old son, Mitchell, decided to skip town.

Ghotanian, a Los Angeles-area resident, stopped at the Mobil station at Saugus Avenue and Sepulveda in Sherman Oaks to put enough gas in the car to get them to the airport. They were headed to the Santa Barbara Zoo.

Ghotanian, who lives right off the 405, took Sepulveda on Saturday morning.

"Right now it was wide-open," he said about 9 a.m.

His commute home on Friday was worse than usual, he said, but not terrible.

"It's no big deal. It's not the end of the world."

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13-year-old charged with murder in death of Riverside County man

UC Irvine regains Guinness world record for biggest dodgeball game

-- Marisa Gerber in Sherman Oaks

Carmageddon II: More street closures Sunday for triathlon

Stretches of some of the Los Angeles’ busiest Westside and downtown streets will be closed Sunday to accommodate about 2,500 participants in a triathlon.

The closure of parts of Venice Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue could add to congestion on the Westside because of the temporary shutdown of a 10-mile section of the 405 Freeway. The freeway, which will be closed between the 10 and 101 freeways until Monday morning, is being widened to make room for a new carpool lane.

The first closure of Venice Boulevard from Pacific Avenue to Fairfax will begin around 5 a.m. Sunday, said Jan Fambro, spokeswoman for the Herbalife Triathlon Los Angeles. The race will start at Venice Beach around 7:15 a.m., and Fambro said Venice Boulevard would likely reopen by 10 a.m.

FULL COVERAGE: Carmageddon II

From the time the race begins until about 12:15 p.m., workers will close Olympic Boulevard from Avenue to Cherry Street as athletes make their way downtown.

The final two closures will occur on Olympic Boulevard from Cherry to Figueroa Street, and on Grand Avenue from 11th Street to 1st Street, Fambro said. The triathletes will end the competition at L.A. Live, and Fambro said the downtown streets should be reopened no later than noon.

City transportation officials have warned that people driving toward the triathlon course  between 3 and 11 a.m. can expect detours. They suggest people take shuttles or use Washington, Olympic or Pico boulevards or the 10 Freeway. For those heading north or south, they recommend Sepulveda or Lincoln boulevard or Centinela Avenue.

Residents and visitors parked along the triathlon route should watch for temporary "no parking" signs to avoid citations and tows. Police and traffic officers will be on hand to keep vehicles from crossing the course.

Continue reading »

Carmageddon II: For traffic control center, it's time to shine

FULL COVERAGE: Carmageddon II

As the sun went down Friday, the lights stayed on at the city's Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control Center.

This is one of the central headquarters for Carmageddon II, where a handful of engineers will work 53 straight hours to ensure that all goes well with the temporary closure of a portion of the 405 Freeway -- the nation's busiest.

The city of Los Angeles has about 4,500 traffic signals and the ATSAC center downtown controls about 4,400 of them, according to Edward Yu, the center’s supervisor. The signals, along with about 400 cameras and about 7,000 miles of public streets, are all monitored by three or four engineers at a time, Yu said.

FULL COVERAGE: Carmageddon II

This weekend the center will be staffed 24/7. With a 10-mile section of the 405 closed until Monday morning, the potential for traffic problems increases.

The freeway was closed Friday night to begin demolition of the northern half of the Mulholland Drive bridge as part of a $1-billion project that includes adding a carpool lane to the freeway below.

Continue reading »
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About L.A. Now
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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