UCLA Medical Center Gets Ready for 405 Closure

The hospital is in the middle of what's expected to be a traffic nightmare.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The hospital in Westwood is putting a plan together to make sure workers and patients can still get to the hospital during the upcoming closure. (Published Tuesday, Jul 5, 2011)

    As transplants from Canada and Michigan, UCLA Nurses Nidhi Ralhan and Alana Wilson had just gotten used to LA traffic.  It's just their luck they'll be working on "Carmageddon" weekend.

    405 Commuter Toolkit: Maps, Detours

    "Dreading congestion," Ralhan said, "just knowing that it's going to be really congested and hot."

    More than 1,000 UCLA medical employees will be working July 15 through the 17th, the weekend when the 405 will be shut down from the 10 to the 101.

    UCLA Medical Center is smack in the middle of what's expected to be a traffic nightmare.
      
    To make sure employees get to work on time, UCLA Health System Chief Operating Officer Shannon O'Kelley says workers who live nearby have traded shifts with those who don't, and hotel rooms and dorm rooms have been reserved for overnight stays.  

    "We have housing that's built into the building that our residents can use," O'Kelly said.  "We also have outpatient areas where our staff could use in an emergency."

    Family members of patients are being told to minimize visits during the weekend of the closure. 
    People with medical emergencies are urged to call 911 and not risk getting stuck in traffic trying to drive to the hospital.
     
    Since ambulances also might get trapped, UCLA hospitals plan to use more helicopters.

    "We don't quite know what to expect," said William Dunn, UCLA's Director of Emergency Preparedness.  "If it's the worst case scenario, we're going to be prepared.  If it's the best case scenario, we'll be happy, and I'll be able to play a little more solitaire."