WEST LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Traffic backed up on surface streets in West Los Angeles at midday, as a hot, sunny day off apparently enticed some motorists to ignore requests to stay off the roads during the 53-hour closure that began today.
“The construction project appears to be on or ahead of schedule,” county supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky told KNX during the noon hour. Crews had removed 50-year-old cement from the center span, and were beginning to “chunk chunk chunk” on the western and eastern side spans.
But heavy traffic enveloped the Westside, as drivers faced the closure of the 405 at the Santa Monica (10) Freeway. Northbound traffic on the 405 backed up more than a mile leading to the closure at the 10, where six lanes of traffic were shoehorned down into one lane ramps east and west on the 10.
Uncharacteristically-crowded conditions were also spotted on east-west and north-south streets on the Westside, and on the 10 itself.
On Pacific Coast Highway, large platoons of cars had zoomed towards Santa Monica at the usual 55 miles per hour in the morning. But PCH traffic had congealed into typical “beach day” lines of stopped traffic by lunchtime.
Some slow-and-go traffic developed on one alternate route: the southbound Hollywood (101) Freeway heading to the Harbor (110) Freeway interchange. But that backup is a normal experience on Saturdays, one traffic reporter noted.
Heavier-than-normal traffic was reported today at Malibu and Topanga, and temperature forecasts of more than 100 degrees in the San Fernando Valley –
and 72 at the Pacific Ocean — promised to test the patience of valley- dwellers.
And truckers were reportedly using Sepulveda Boulevard to detour around the freeway closure, prompting LAPD motorcycle officers and moveable signs to be utilized to head the truckers off at the pass.
Metro construction officials at “Camp Carmegeddon” said at midday the project was on schedule, but a KNX radio reporter at the bridge demolition site said it looked to him like the cement on the bridge had already bit the dust by noon.
TV stations apparently stuck to their promise to minimize helicopter overflights. ABC7, the Saturday morning TV pool chopper, notified other stations its bird would make one pass from the San Fernando Valley south to the 10, and then back north, at 9:15 a.m.
In the San Fernando Valley, traffic was mostly light. Canyon roads linking the Valley to Beverly Hills and Hollywood were also flowing.
On the pavement, CHP officers reported a few small problems, including skateboarders spotted on the 405 at Santa Monica Boulevard, and a wrong-way driver entering an off-ramp at Valley Vista Boulevard. The state promised to arrest and fine any pranksters hoping to duplicate last year’s stunts, which included a trio photographed having a candle-lit dinner in the middle of the closed freeway.
At midnight today, when the final lanes were closed, traffic conditions were very light. Los Angeles traffic control officers stood at streetcorners next to vacant intersections, ready to direct traffic is any had suddenly materialized.
But PCH traffic at 1 a.m. was much heavier than normal.
As peaceful and smooth as today’s closures appeared, Westside motorists may face chaos Sunday morning when a major kink in the Slinky develops: closure of all north-south surface streets from the Pacific Ocean to downtown L.A. for a previously-scheduled bicycle race.
By about 7 a.m., no traffic will be allowed to cross Venice Boulevard at the beach, and the closures will move east to Fairfax Avenue. Fairfax will then be closed north to Olympic Boulevard, and then Olympic will be closed east to downtown.
There will be no crossing points for vehicles except the 10 and 110 freeways — and the 405, which will be open over Venice but closed north of the 10.
The closures for the Herbalife Triathlon will be lifted, starting at the beach, by 11 a.m. Sunday.
Airborne reporter Jeff Baugh on KNX reminded fellow motorists that “we have control of this whole situation, and that’s by not driving unless we absolutely have to.
“Of course, I have to remember to not do that myself.”