Redding, CA, prepares for its own ‘Carmageddon’

Motorists in the Redding, CA, area will face a 10-day “Carmageddon” starting this weekend as road crews shut down part of its busiest freeway interchange, according to a report in the Record Searchlight

Motorists in the Redding, CA, area will face a 10-day “Carmageddon” starting this weekend as road crews shut down part of its busiest freeway interchange, according to a report in the Record Searchlight.

The Interstate 5/Highway 44 connector should be avoided if at all possible during the closure, which will be in effect 24 hours a day, California Dept. of Transportation officials warn.

Those not avoiding the interchange during the 10-day closure will face detours, delays and, in the worst case, five-mile traffic jams, Caltrans officials said.

“This is our single busiest spot in our entire district, and we are closing half of it,” Clint Burkenpas, Caltrans traffic manager said. “That’s a little spooky.”

Caltrans is closing the western side of the interchange to allow workers to finish adding two lanes to southbound I-5. The agency said it will use satellite-linked traffic speed sensors and roving trucks to monitor traffic patterns and speeds to allow them to change detour routes promptly if sensors indicate backups threaten a spillover onto I-5.

I-5 carries up to 70,000 cars and trucks each day across the central Redding interchange in both directions. Highway 44 carries up to 60,000 cars and trucks each day.

In July, a 53-hour shutdown of Interstate 405 in Los Angeles, dubbed Carmageddon for its predicted disruption to California’s busiest highway, didn’t pan out.

That closure was for demolition work on the Mulholland Drive Bridge, shutting down both northbound and southbound lanes of the major north/south highway will be closed and Los Angeles. City officials predicted a “horrendous backup.”

Next summer, officials in Los Angeles are predicting the city will experience Carmageddon again as the state takes on the other half of the highway improvement project and close the route again. The work is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project that includes constructing a 10-m. northbound carpool lane to complete the highway system between Orange County and the San Fernando Valley.

But for now, it’s Redding’s turn.

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