A major 10-mile stretch of one of the busiest freeways in the world is being shut down for an entire weekend for a widening project. It's being called "Carmageddon."
More than 250,000 cars a day use the stretch of Los Angeles' I-405 freeway that connects the San Fernando Valley with the West Side. But this weekend it will be closed, leaving traffic backups that observers predict could be anywhere from 28 to 65 miles long.
The project involves demolishing the Mulholland Bridge, whose supports are too close to the current freeway to add a carpool lane. To do that, the entire freeway on both sides must be shut down for 53 hours.
City and transportation officials are urging people to stay home and avoid the area altogether. It's predicted that all surface streets and other freeways will be jammed with people who must get from the valley to the West Side, so all those who do not need to travel shouldn't, officials say.
"We have front-loaded with extra resources from the California Highway Patrol and LAPD, in the event that we're having a spike of issues that may be the causal effect of road rage," said California Highway Patrol Capt. Greg Hammond.
It's not just about impatience in a long backup, but other issues could arise, such as cars running out of gas or overheating. Drivers who must attempt to get from one side of town to the other are urged to make sure they are gassed up and have plenty of water in the car – and triple the expected travel time.