Carmageddon predicted for L.A.’s 405 closing
If there’s anything that unites residents and visitors across the sprawling Southern California metropolis, it is despair over transportation, from clogged freeways to inadequate public transit.
That fearsome Los Angeles traffic is about to get much, much worse this weekend: A 10-mile stretch of the nation’s busiest highway, Interstate 405, will be shut down for 53 hours as part of a $1 billion reconstruction project.
City and transit officials say the closing is necessary to demolish an overpass bridge. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, other officials — and even Erik Estrada, who as motorcycle cop “Ponch” patrolled the freeway on the TV show CHiPS in the late 1970s and early ’80s — have been going on local broadcasts to warn that ensuing backups could be super-size.
“If you think it’s bad now,” Villaraigosa warns, “on July 16 and 17, it will be an absolute nightmare.”
A road closing may seem a routine inconvenience elsewhere and hardly worth noting in cities devastated recently by floods, fires and tornadoes. But in car-dependent Los Angeles, the I-405 closing is being touted as not just the biggest traffic disruption in decades but also as an almost apocalyptic event that will be felt for miles and miles.
Call it Carmageddon.