LA drivers told to prepare for 'Carmageddon II'

July 20, 2012 - 3:36 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Remember "Carmageddon"? Get ready for the sequel.

Southern California drivers were urged Thursday to stay off the roads when a 10-mile section of busy Interstate 405 is closed this fall.

Crews will finish tearing down a bridge in the Sepulveda Pass, which links West Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley and carries nearly 250,000 cars a day on weekends.

The 53-hour weekend closure begins on Sept. 29.

When the freeway was shut down in July 2011 for the first half of the demolition, authorities worried the result might be a traffic jam of such monumental proportions that it would gridlock the entire city.

They nicknamed the potential disaster Carmageddon.

However, motorists heeded a massive public information campaign and stayed off the roads. Traffic that weekend was lighter than usual and no serious problems occurred.

Transit officials are flooding the airwaves with similar advance warnings this time and urging motorists not to be complacent.

Make it a "car-light or car-free weekend with family and friends," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said.

"I have every confidence they'll rise to the occasion again," said Zev Yaroslavsky, a Los Angeles County supervisor and board member of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. "Let's make this another Carmageddon-Schmarmageddon experience for us all."

Last year's work was finished early, but officials said that is unlikely this time because more demolition work needs to be done.

The bridge demolition is part of a $1 billion renovation effort that includes a new carpool lane. Another part of the project involves demolishing eight freeway ramps.

In June, crews shut down two ramps, with the rest closing in phases in coming months.

While some predicted traffic ramp jams, no major problems have been reported.