Question: What happens when you shut down the busiest north-south freeway connection in Los Angeles over a summer weekend?
On the weekend of July 16-17, ten miles of the I-405 freeway [on the west side - connecting the Valley with the airport] will be shut down for 53 consecutive hours as part of the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvement
The Mulholland Dr Bridge will be the third bridge demolished and reconstructed to accommodate the widening of the I-405 freeway to add a northbound high-occupancy vehicle lane through the Sepulveda Pass.
There’s no doubt that the closure is going to cause the worst traffic jam *ever* - a Carmageddon. Any of the over 500,000 motorists who usually drive the freeway will find themselves creeping on local streets in severe cases of gridlock, because the alternative routes between the Valley and the Westside are narrow, winding canyon roads.
In an attempt to prevent the predicted chaotic traffic, transportation officials have launched a media campaign warning drivers of the closure and asking us to “Please stay at Home!”
For the past month I’ve seen digital billboards along the freeways, and major roads, announcing the freeway closure, and the L.A. Police Department (LAPD) have asked actors, musicians and athletes who are popular on Twitter, to tweet their followers not to come anywhere near the freeway that weekend.
An article in the L.A. Times “Tips to survive Carmageddon“ reminds us that there are many things worse than being stuck in a traffic jam – one example being a root canal – so chill out, relax and if you have to drive in the area make sure you’ve got good music.”
A few months ago I was surprised to hear a comment on National Public Radio that Washington D.C. and Chicago are the two worst cities for commuters. Really? How can anything be worse than Southern California where traffic jams are the norm, and we even have a name for them, Sig Alert.
“SigAlerts” named after L.A. radio executive Loyd Sigmon, are advisories of severe traffic conditions. A Sig Alert is defined by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) as “any unplanned event that causes the closing of one lane of traffic for 30 minutes or more”.