Traffic control officers have been temporarily suspended from directing traffic on Sunset Boulevard intersections as the latest round of 405 closures -- dubbed "rampjam" -- begins. West LA resident Ed Ritvo says the congestion from the closure of the Wilshire Boulevard off- and on-ramps is like a "disease that spreads over LA." Business owner Roxane Baradaran says her business took a nearly 30 percent hit because customers are frustrated and try to avoid the area. Annette Arreola reports from West LA for the NBC4 News at 12 p.m. on July 16, 2012.
Residents on the Westside of Los Angeles fear that a recent move to take away traffic officers at a critical commuting route will exacerbate the already congested streets.
Playing on last summer’s “Carmageddon” this year's “Ramp Jam” is predicted to make car-crazy Angelenos even crazier than a typical traffic day.
“It’s the plague that we live with,” West LA resident Ed Ritvo. “It’s like a disease that spreads over West LA.”
As part of the ongoing San Diego Freeway widening project -- a new phase of the “Carmageddon” project that garnered heavy international press attention last summer -- has shut ramps along the route on the Westside of Los Angeles.
The closure along Wilshire Boulevard has caused frustration for residents and business owners in more ways than just delayed destination times.
In addition to shutting the ramps down, officials have temporarily pulled out the traffic control officers who helped motorists navigate the traffic-choked streets.
These officers were seen as a big help for motorists needing to get through a number of intersections on Sunset Boulevard, where crews are doing bridge work as part of a $1 billion project along 10 miles of one of the busiest freeway sections in the country.
Officials said they will reinstate the officers when school resumes in the fall.
Meantime, said Dave Sotero, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, motorists should allow more time to get to their destinations.
“Sunset boulevard has been congested for a very long time,” Sotero said.
Roxane Baradaran said her health and beauty supply shop took a nearly 30 percent hit in sales since traffic officers left.
"We have a lot of customers that are frustrated and try to avoid this entire area," said Baradaran.
The work on Sunset is anticipated to be complete in September, officials said.