By Mary O’KEEFE
Angelenos survived Carmageddon!
It appears that the general public heeded the constant warning to stay off the freeways last weekend. To get Southern Californians off what is arguably one of the busiest freeways in the world, the 405, was not an easy task.
Some may think the constant warnings from the California Department of Transportation, law enforcement, L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and the media may have been over the top but the bottom line is the message worked, according to Marc Littman, Metro spokesman.
“[Drivers] not only got the message but heeded it,” Littman said.
Carmageddon was the term used to describe the potential chaos that may have occurred after a 10-mile stretch of the 405 was closed so crews could tear down the Mulholland Bridge. The closure was originally scheduled from July 15 to July 18 but the freeway reopened just before noon on Sunday, about 17 hours ahead of schedule.
“A lot of things went right,” Littman said. “Crews moved 4,000 tons of concrete.”
Littman added that the original 53 hours that had been scheduled for the demolition included all the “what ifs,” like, “What if the heavy equipment fails?” and, “What if they ran into complications with dealing with gas and water lines?”
The Kiewit Pacific Co., a subsidiary of Kiewit Corporation, was the construction company in charge of the Mulholland Bridge rebuild and knows the area well.
“Kiewit built the Mulholland [bridge] in 1959,” Littman said.
The new bridge will be 10 feet wider and 29 feet longer.
Littman worked during the 1984 Olympics where another “get the word out” campaign was used to lighten traffic on the freeways.
“It worked then too, but then we had two years to prepare. For this we had two months,” he said.
All is back to normal, the traffic continues to move slowly on the 405 freeway and all is right with the Los Angeles world, until about 10 months from now when the other side of the bridge is worked on and Carmageddon happens all over again.