One the nation's busiest freeways will shut down this weekend for 53 hours, and officials say crews need every second of that closure to successfully complete the Southland's second installment of Carmageddon. "The contractor has the work schedule buttoned down to a 15-minute schedule," says Metro spokesperson Dave Sotero. Angie Crouch reports from the Sepulveda Pass for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Sept. 28, 2012.
Carmageddon II is just about here.
The closure of an 10-mile section of the San Diego Freeway between the Ventura and Santa Monica freeways is happening because of a $1 billion 405-widening project.
The closure has been dubbed "Carmageddon II," the sequel to the much-hyped freeway shutdown last summer.
The 405’s ramps began closing at 7 p.m. Friday.
Freeway lane closures followed, starting at 10 p.m.
By midnight, all northbound lanes will be closed between the Santa Monica and Ventura freeways, and the southbound lanes will be shut down between the Ventura Freeway and Getty Center Drive.
The 405 won't re-open until 5 a.m. Monday.
The closures are happening as workers demolish the north side of the Mulholland Bridge in a second-phase of a $1 billion freeway-widening project on one of the nation’s busiest highway sections.
Officials said there is 30 percent more work this year than during last year's closure. Compared to last year, crews have two sets of bridge columns and the entire span of the Mullholland Bridge to demolish in the same 53-hour period.
Crews will also do some additional work on the 405, including striping and revamping the Skirball and Sunset Boulevard bridges. They predict the work won't likely be finished early.
But the demolition operation is meticulously planned.
"The contractor has the work schedule buttoned down to a 15-minute schedule," said Metro spokesperson, Dave Sotero. "So, they know where they need to be in the project schedule to re-open on Monday morning."
If the contractor fails to open the freeway on time, the company faces penalties of up to $6,000 per closed lane for every 10 minutes crews are late.
Transportation officials are urging motorists to plan ahead and stay away from the area.
Officials will have to divert two-thirds of the traffic that travels along the 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass. Some 250,000 vehicles pass through that area on any given weekend day, said Marc Littman, a spokesman with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is overseeing the project.
Sepulveda Boulevard will be open, but it’s for local access and has only one lane, Littman said.
“If you don’t live in the area, stay off Sepulveda because that could back up very quickly,” he said.
Here’s additional information on the freeway closures: