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With L.A. 405 closure, it's all about surviving 'Carmageddon'

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: AAA advises motorists to be courteous
  • Major freeway project this weekend in Los Angeles
  • Interstate 405 work will cause backups throughout the region
  • People are being warned to plan, avoid the area or stay home

Los Angeles (CNN) -- For 53 hours this weekend and early Monday, a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 405 will be closed in western Los Angeles for a bridge demolition.

You would think the world is coming to an end.

The project -- dubbed "Carmageddon" -- has brought countdown clocks, traffic apps, detour maps and warnings to stay away or enjoy the weekend on the couch. Amtrak and JetBlue are offering specials to get away from it all.

The good news?

With the aim of eventually reducing traffic congestion, the northbound section of the freeway between U.S. 101 and Interstate 10 will be closed Saturday and Sunday for the demolition of the Mulholland Drive Bridge.

The weekend work will clear the way for the widening of the freeway through the Sepulveda Pass. A northbound high-occupancy vehicle lane also will be added.

The bad news?

With historic traffic backups expected, the northbound section of the freeway between U.S. 101 and Interstate 10 will be closed Saturday and Sunday for the demolition of the Mulholland Drive Bridge.

"Severe traffic conditions are anticipated in local and regional areas during the weekend of the full freeway closure," Metro warns on its website.

The 405 freeway, which hosts about 500,000 cars a day, stretches from the San Fernando Valley south into many of the city's posh neighborhoods, including Beverly Hills and Bel Air, and on to Irvine. A four-mile southbound section will be closed between U.S. 101 and Getty Center Drive ramps.

Los Angeles International Airport is urging travelers to get there by public transit, especially rail, or to stay at nearby hotels for early morning flights.

The Los Angeles Fire Department is adding 200 firefighters so they can quickly respond to 911 calls around the areas affected by the closure, CNN L.A. affiliate KABC reported.

Of course, it may not be all bad.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's Facebook page links to "405 Things to Do," brought to you by the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"The 405 closure is the perfect opportunity to discover ... and rediscover ... the great activities, restaurants, shops and sites close to home in the many unique neighborhoods of Los Angeles County," the page touts. "Over the next few days leading up to the 405 closure, we will be adding 50 suggestions per day."

JetBlue is offering $4 fares each way from Burbank to Long Beach on Saturday and Sunday.

Amtrak California offers coach passengers a 50% discount on trains traveling between Los Angeles Union Station and Burbank Bob Hope Airport.

There is an app, or several, for "Carmageddon."

KABC has partnered with Waze to help navigate the traffic. "The app provides free turn-by-turn GPS navigation based on the live conditions of the road," the station said.

Twitter titan and actor Ashton Kutcher has gotten into the act: "LAPD askd me 2tweet: 405fwy btwn 10 & 101 will b closed July16-17. In xchange I would like a free pass on that stoplight tickt IT WAS YELLOW."

For those venturing out, it's all about the proper attitude.

The Automobile Club of Southern California, while urging motorists to stay away from the construction zone, has provided tips for those driving Southern California roadways this weekend.

It suggested leaving home early, listening to calming music and news updates or stopping at a restaurant or park for a break, if necessary.

"Avoid directing anger at other drivers, even if they are discourteous or distracted," AAA said. "Concentrate on your own driving."