Carmageddon was stuck in the breakdown lane

July 18, 2011
For the City of Angels, Carmageddon — the closure of a 10-mi. segment of major north-south freeway I-405 — was pretty much a non-event in terms of the catastrophic traffic issues and gridlock predicted last weekend.

For the City of Angels, Carmageddon — the closure of a 10-mi. segment of major north-south freeway I-405 — was pretty much a non-event in terms of the catastrophic traffic issues and gridlock predicted last weekend. Most L.A. residents obviously heeded the perpetual warnings that were blasted for weeks from news sources and steered clear of traveling in the vicinity of the route during the 53-hour period when the 405 was closed to work on removing a bridge.

The most dramatic highway happening due to the 405 shutdown involved a suspected impaired driver who led police on a high-speed chase for several hours that covered almost every freeway in the Inland Empire and L.A. area — except the 405. The motorist, who allegedly faced three-strike penalties, led police, news trucks and helicopters over half a dozen California freeways including the 101, the 60, the 5, the 210, and the 10 for several hours. The culprit may have been aided in his evasive maneuvers by the light traffic on all the major L.A. routes.

How the highway closure impacted truckers that needed to make deliveries in the area — or for those who use the major freeway as a route from northern California through Los Angeles into Orange County and even further south into San Diego — is difficult to determine. But the fact that locals avoided traveling the highway and alternative routes during the road closure most certainly helped truckers to move through the L.A. more easily than anticipated.

Highway workers, spurred by potential penalties if they didn’t get the job done on schedule, reopened the freeway ahead of schedule mid-day Sunday, so it should be business as usual for truckers traveling through the region today.

Be beware, Carmageddon II: The Sequel, is planned to begin in about 11 months when the state will take 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. Hopefully, the locals won’t be lulled into a false sense of travel security and will stay off the roads again in the next phase of construction.

About the Author

Deborah Whistler

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