Carmageddon 2 is about to descend on Los Angeles as residents prepare for massive traffic jams caused by a 53-hour roadway closure.
The so-called Carmageddon 2 is expected to be the result of the closure of a 10-mile stretch of the 405 Freeway starting at midnight on Friday. Ramps were closed from 7 pm on, Reuters reported. Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Marc Littman said that the lanes would remain closed until 5 am on Monday.
The closure allows workers to demolish the north side of a bridge spanning the 405 Freeway as part of a $1 billion project to widen the freeway. The bridge’s southern side was already demolished and widened last year.
The original Carmageddon, which was supposed to take place in the summer of 2011, didn’t really live up to expectations. Many people heeded the warnings of traffic experts and stayed off the roads during road-closing repairs then, keeping the backups to a minimum.
The lack of Carmageddon in 2011 actually became somewhat of a joke in Los Angeles.
“Carmageddon, Schmarmageddon,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said after the 42-hour shutdown was over.
But the false sense of security from 2011 could lead to a more massive Carmageddon 2, local officials are warning.
“If people don’t think it’s a problem, it will be one,” Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz told Reuters.
Drivers should still find a way to avoid the closed area, local officials have said.
“We don’t want people to become complacent based on the success of last year’s closure. Once again, it’s vitally important that we all plan ahead, avoid the area, and eat, shop and play locally. Otherwise, there will be problems,” Michael Miles, the California Department of Transportation’s director for Los Angeles and Ventura counties, told CNN.
With close to 500,000 cars and trucks traveling the stretch of the 405 Freeway on a typical weekend, Carmageddon 2 has a chance to grow very large, experts say. But Los Angeles officials want drivers to be ready, spending $150,000 on an advertising campaign to remind them about the project.