'Century Crunch': So far, so good on 2nd day of LAX traffic rerouting

So far, Day Two of the "Century Crunch" looks a lot like Day One.

Traffic was running smoothly early Sunday as major construction work continued around Century and Aviation boulevards near the entrance to Los Angeles International Airport. Surface-street traffic is being rerouted three miles around the intersection, which is scheduled to reopen by 6 a.m. Monday.

Transportation officials had warned drivers that the project could cause major traffic delays. Forty traffic officers and engineers have been posted at 21 intersections around the airport to help with traffic flow.

On Saturday, construction crews demolished an old railroad bridge to begin construction on a new commuter rail station. By 9 a.m., the bridge was knocked down and crews had begun hauling away debris.


Officials said there were no major problems or delays and were pleased with traffic flow, which seemed at times to be lighter than usual. But LAX spokeswoman Mary Grady cautioned that there may be a surge in traffic Sunday night when many travelers are expected to return home.

"This was a good test run," Grady said of the first day of "Century Crunch". But "the busiest time is Sunday. That's when everyone comes back from the weekend."

Long considered the gateway to Los Angeles International Airport, Century Boulevard sees nearly 70,000 vehicles a day. An additional 20,000 use Aviation Boulevard. But at 9 p.m. Friday, the intersection went silent.

Then the jackhammering began.

Looking like prehistoric animals scavenging a wreck, pneumatic jackhammers rat-tat-tatted on a railroad bridge above the intersection. By 9 a.m. Saturday, the span had fallen into a pile of rubble and rebar. Skip-loaders temporarily ushered the mess into the old Wally Park, adjacent to the intersection, to be hauled at a later date to a vacant lot at the corner of Florence and La Brea avenues.

Three years after "Carmageddon," transportation agencies appreciate a well-turned catch-phrase for inspiring dread in local drivers. "Carmageddon" was followed by "Jamzilla" and "Ramp Jam."

According to Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Jose Ubaldo, the agency considered a number of possibilities. "Closure of the Century" was nixed. A version of jam was favored but had already been used. An alliterative approach was appreciated, and "Century Congestion" became "Century Crunch."