| LOS ANGELES, Sept 28
LOS ANGELES, Sept 28 Car-crazed Los Angeles is
preparing for a weekend of potential traffic gridlock that has
earned the nickname "Carmageddon 2" amid fears drivers might not
heed warnings to stay off the roads during a massive 53-hour
Warnings of nightmare jams last year in a phase of the same
road-closing construction project kept so many people home that
apocalyptic predictions of "Carmageddon" failed to materialize.
"Carmageddon, Schmarmageddon," Los Angeles County Supervisor
Zev Yaroslavsky said last year, after the 42-hour 405 Freeway
shutdown was over.
But there are worries this year's project could result in
more traffic, largely because it went so smoothly last year.
"If people don't think it's a problem, it will be one," Los
Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz told Reuters.
The shutdown of a 10-mile (16-kilometre) stretch of the 405
Freeway will begin at midnight on Friday, with closures of
on-ramps at 7 p.m. Friday (0200 GMT Saturday), Metropolitan
Transportation Authority spokesman Marc Littman said.
Lanes will open again at 5 a.m. on Monday, he said.
The shutdown is to allow workers to demolish the north side
of a bridge that spans the 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass as
part of a $1 billion freeway widening project, Littman said. The
south side of the bridge was demolished last year and has been
rebuilt wider, just as the north side will be, he said.
A half million cars and trucks traverse the Sepulveda Pass
stretch of the 405 Freeway on a typical weekend.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has held a dozen
press conferences in recent weeks on the freeway shutdown and is
spending $150,000 on advertising to remind the public about it,
The California Department of Transportation has been warning
about the closure for over a month on electronic freeway signs,
some as far away as Sacramento, 360 miles (579 km) north of Los
Traffic information service INRIX said this week that if Los
Angeles drivers do not heed calls to avoid travel, traffic could
increase by 45 percent on Sepulveda Boulevard alongside the
stretch of the 405 Freeway being shut down.
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Vicki Allen)