Saturday, July 16, 2011

'Carmageddon': Too early to declare traffic victory


Several hours into 'Carmageddon,' none of the traffic nightmares have materialized as officials closed the 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass.

But the real test will come Saturday afternoon, when weekend traffic reaches its peak and drivers will be looking for an alternative to the 405. Transportation officials said some L.A. freeways get jammed on a normal Saturday, so the 405 closure could worsen the congestion unless a significant number of drivers decide to stay home or take alternative routes.

Officials have said they are particularly concerned about these hot spots:

110 FREEWAY:  With the 405 closed, the 110 will be the next most logical north-south route. It is often jammed Saturdays near downtown. On Saturday night as many as 100,000 people are expected to attend a soccer match between Real Madrid and the Los Angeles Galaxy at the L.A. Coliseum, next to the freeway.

405 FREEWAY SOUTH: Mike Barbour, Metro's director for the I-405 Sepulveda Pass widening project, said traffic could be bad south of the closure. "The worst case is it could be backing up to the 110," Barbour said. "We're talking a significant 20 miles or so. it really depends on if people are staying away or not."

CANYON ROADS: The focus is on the mostly two-lane, north-south canyon roads connecting the San Fernando Valley and western Los Angeles County. Those roads, which traverse affluent neighborhoods such as Bel-Air, can bog down in normal weekend traffic.

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