| LOS ANGELES, July 16
LOS ANGELES, July 16 A Los Angeles freeway
shutdown dubbed "Carmageddon" that city leaders have warned
about for weeks failed to slow morning traffic in the region on
Saturday, but officials remained cautious.
The unprecedented weekend shutdown of a 10-mile (16-km)
stretch of the 405 Freeway could, in a worst-case scenario,
delay motorists for hours on alternate routes with ripple
effects on other major highways.
The shutdown will allow crews to demolish part of a bridge
for a $1 billion freeway widening project.
Despite the worries about Carmageddon, a catchphrase
description that has seized the motoring public's imagination,
traffic flowed easily on freeways Saturday morning.
"We don't want to claim victory at the moment, but it
appears as though people are heeding the call that we issued to
stay away or stay home," said Dave Sotero, a spokesman for the
Metropolitan Transportation Authority. "But it's not over
Work crews started to block on-ramps and connectors to the
closed stretch of the 405 Freeway on Friday evening, and plans
call for it to be reopened on Monday by 6 a.m.
Los Angeles is famous for its car culture and residents'
heavy dependence on getting behind the wheel to drive to work
and recreate, due to the city's relatively vast expanse and the
meager public transit options in many areas.
As a result, the freeway shutdown had many residents in
America's second-largest city worried. Some booked hotels to
avoid getting caught in traffic while commuting for work over
On a typical weekend, 500,000 vehicles file through the
stretch of freeway that is closed for the project, according to
the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or Metro.
(Additional reporting by Jason Kandel; Editing by Jerry