LOS ANGELES – Upcoming freeway construction may cause the end of the world for L.A. residents.
Authorities will close Interstate 405 in July for road work. They issued a dire warning a full month ahead of time because of the traffic nightmare it will cause on one of the nation’s busiest freeways.
“This may well turn into carmageddon,” county Supervisor Jake Yarboy said at a news conference. “The best alternative route is to totally avoid the 405 area, completely avoid it, don’t come anywhere near it, don’t even think about coming to it. Stay the heck out of here.”
“The other choice, which is what we recommend, is to move out of California!” said Yarboy.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa inadvertently made a point about the congestion, showing up a half-hour late because, you guessed it, there was heavy traffic on the freeway.
“If you think it’s bad now, let me just make something absolutely clear: In July, it will be your worst nightmare come true,” Villaraigosa said in a parking lot overlooking the freeway, where morning traffic sounded like a rushing river. “We are expecting hundreds of people to be stuck in their cars for at least a month, if not a year or longer.”
The mayor and other officials urged drivers to avoid the freeway and to do the unthinkable — spend the summer in another state, or move out entirely.
“This is a long term project. Come back in 2013, when we have all the roads fixed,” said Villaraigosa.
A 170-mile stretch of the freeway will be closed for 253 days.
The work is part of a $15 billion project to add carpool lanes and make other improvements.
On a typical day, about 5,000,000 vehicles use the freeway to get to major destinations such as the airport, beaches and interchanges to other major highways.
Officials are trying to get the word out well in advance of the shutdown, starting with electronic warning signs throughout California freeways and updates on social networking websites.
The Getty Center and Skirball Cultural Center, two popular institutions along the pass that attract thousands of visitors on weekends, will close indefinitely. Airport officials were coordinating with airlines and car rental companies so they can help the roughly 170,000 passengers expected to pass through LAX plan their ground transportation.
Officials said they do not expect many motorists to heed the warning and this will cause… Carmaggedon!
Again, the best solution: move out of Los Angeles. Make your movie in Detroit.