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Carmageddon: 405 could reopen ahead of schedule

July 17, 2011 |  7:26 am

Click for more photos of the 405 Freeway closureOfficials are urging Los Angeles residents to continue to stay off the road Sunday while offering predictions that the "Carmageddon" closure of the 405 Freeway could end ahead of schedule.

The 405 is scheduled to reopen early Monday morning, in time for the weekday commute.

But County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky predicted demolition work would be completed ahead of the 5 a.m. deadline. By Saturday afternoon, the center stand of the bridge was mostly gone, and crews were removing girders on the other two stands.

No prediction have been made about how early the 405 could reopen, but officials said they might have a better idea by Sunday morning.

PHOTOS: 'Carmageddon' closes the 405 Freeway

The 405 was shut down at midnight Friday night between the 101 and 10 freeways, as workers demolished the southern half of the bridge, which spans the freeway. That 10-mile stretch of the 405 carries roughly 500,000 vehicles on a normal July weekend.

The demolition is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project that includes adding a northbound carpool lane. After the new lanes are finished to replace those being demolished now, the freeway will be shut down again in 11 months as crews take down the other half of the bridge.

Contractors working on the 405 Freeway project face penalties of $6,000 for every 10 minutes they run over the allotted time for completion — which is 53 hours. The fines apply separately for each side of the freeway, meaning that amount would double if both the southbound and northbound lanes remain closed.


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-- Dan Wiekel and Kate Mather

Photo: The Mulholland Drive bridge over the 405 Freeway is broken up. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times