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From midnight of Friday, July 16 until (hopefully) 5 a.m. on Monday, July 18, a 10-mile section of a major Los Angeles traffic artery will close for construction, causing gridlock concerns and hampering transfers to and from LAX.
LOS ANGELES — Interstate 405, also called the San Diego Freeway, is the main artery for thousands of commuters traveling through greater Los Angeles and Orange Counties. It bisects a mountain range in north Los Angeles to connect the dozens of suburbs and cities in the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles basin. At its widest, it spans six lanes on both sides, but perennial congestion earns it the nickname of the region’s largest parking lot.
While Angelenos are no strangers to traffic jams — you can spot a stagnant sea of brake lights on any given day — things may be much worse this weekend when 10 miles of freeway will be closed through the vital Sepulveda Pass, between the 10 and 101 freeways, for the demolition of the Mulholland Drive Bridge. Local media has hysterically dubbed the event "Carmageddon," and because it is L.A., at least one company is offering VIP helicopter tours of the Sepulveda Pass area from above.
The reason for the closure is the demolition of the Mulholland Bridge, which passes over the 405.
Chauffeured transportation operators, however, still have to conduct at least a certain amount of business, since their 24/7 operations undoubtedly will be handling clients heading into and out of LAX from throughout the region.
"I have a client who said he's had this meeting planned since last year and there's no way he can miss it," said Brandan Stein, COO of North Hollywood's Exclusive Sedan Service. "We've informed all of our clients and affiliates about the delays and potential of what can happen, and our Livery Coach system is set up so that if anyone books a ride for this weekend, they receive an auto-response to inform them about 'Carmageddon.'"
Stein said his chauffeurs have been briefed on what to expect and know the alternate routes. "Most of our guys have GPS, and the dispatcher will be logged-in to SigAlert to check the best routes."
Operators anticipate heavy traffic around the Los Angeles Airport area and advise clients to be picked up 5-6 hours before their flight.
City officials have urged residents to plan ahead for their trips, and either leave before the closure or do their best to stay at home and avoid travelling this weekend. Warning messages have been set up all over the freeway, Los Angeles celebrities have echoed the advice for residents to stay home by reaching out to fans through social media, and the media has been steadily reporting on it. Officials expect surface roads, canyon roads, and local neighborhood streets to be congested as motorists use them as alternatives. But for many folks, including business travellers and those who transport them, staying at home is not an option.