Deep underground, there's a room full of traffic engineers keeping an eye on the traffic flow in Los Angeles.
The contractor responsible for tearing down the Sepulveda Pass bridge during Carmageddon will have a lot of financial incentive to finish the project on schedule, officials said.
Kiewit Infrastructure, the company that originally built the overpass and will now be removing it, will be docked $6,000 for every 10 minutes they pass the deadline for each direction of the freeway—as much as $12,000 for the north and southbound lanes. That's about $72,000 per hour.
On Friday, July 15, ramps to the 405 between the 10 and 101 will begin shutting down around 7 p.m. as part of the $1 billion project which will make room for additional HOV lanes. The actual freeway will begin closing at 10 p.m. and start reopening around 5 a.m., with all ramps open by 6 a.m. Monday, according to Caltrans.
Kiewit will have 53 hours to complete the project. In addition to the demolition, they will be putting down—and later removing—a 6 foot layer of sand over the roadway to protect it from falling concrete and debris.
The fines go into effect after 6 a.m.
"We based that on the cost of delay," Caltrans 7th District Director Mike Miles said. "For every minute of delay, we figure there is a cost to the public."
Meanwhile, Caltrans plans to take advantage of the closure to make repairs and upgrades to other parts of the 405. Crews will repair cracks in the road, guard rails, and other maintenance that would normally be more difficult with traffic.
Officials were urging motorists to use alternate freeway routes to completely bypass the Sepulveda Pass.
To improve traffic flow on side streets, LADOT said it will suspend work on local side streets such as Coldwater. Sepulveda Boulevard is intended as an alternate route for local resident access only and is expected to suffer from extreme congestion and lengthy delays.
Caltrans will be coordinating with other departments including the California Highway Patrol and LADOT to monitor traffic.
Agencies will be monitoring the situation minute by minute, making adjustments to traffic lights to improve congestion. Police will be actively involved, directing traffic and monitoring trouble spots, according to Lt. Andy Neiman, LAPD Media Relations. UCLA has given 25 dorm rooms to the LAPD so officers can stay in the area.
Metro is planning to use extra trains and buses in the Valley and on the Westside. On July 16 and 17, riding the Red, Purple and Orange and selected bus lines is free.
Roughly 500,000 vehicles travel on the freeway through the Sepulveda Pass on weekend days, and re-routing that traffic is expected to have reverberating impacts on streets and freeways throughout the region.