LOS ANGELES – Construction crews were on schedule and traffic tie-ups were minimal in Los Angeles on Saturday, making for a smooth start to Carmageddon II, the sequel to last year’s shutdown of one of the nation’s busiest freeways.
A 10-mile stretch of Interstate 405 was shut throughout the weekend so that crews can demolish a portion of the Mulholland Drive bridge as part of a $1 billion project to add a new carpool lane. Officials said demolition was nearly complete and that they expect to reopen the freeway as planned for Monday morning.
For the most part, drivers steered clear from the freeway.
As temperatures climbed into the 90s, those who couldn’t resist a trip to the beach said traffic was smooth.
“We’ve been all over the city, no traffic. We even went to Dairy Queen for an ice cream and there was nobody there,” Marilyn Millen told KNBC-TV.
For weeks Angelenos have been warned to avoid the area on L.A.’s West Side. If they don’t, officials warn, a citywide traffic jam could result. But beyond just scare tactics, city officials have been encouraging Southern Californians to get out and enjoy their own neighborhoods on foot, on bikes or via short drives on surface streets.
During a similar closure last year commuters stayed away from the freeway in droves, the shutdown was considered a success, and crews finished the first phase of the work early.