Jamzilla is coming, and it could seriously mess with traffic on the 405 Freeway over the long Presidents Day weekend.
The monster-evoking moniker was adopted by transportation officials for the freeway lane closures slated to begin late Friday, just in time for the post-Valentine’s-Day-dinner rush.
For 80 hours — from about 10 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Tuesday — most or all lanes on the busy northbound side of the freeway will be closed. The shutdowns through the Sepulveda Pass will allow workers to pave and re-stripe the highway where they’ve been adding a carpool lane.
Transportation and law enforcement officials are urging drivers to avoid traveling northbound through West Los Angeles and the Sepulveda Pass for the duration of the closures.
During daytime hours, two northbound lanes will be open, but all five will be shut down at night. Jamzilla recalls the full-freeway weekend closures of 2011 and 2012, which gave workers time and space to demolish the Mulholland Bridge.
The first of those closures gave rise to the apocalyptic term “Carmageddon.” The Southland survived the loss of drive time relatively unscathed.
For Presidents' Day weekend, “we wanted to come up with a term that would be like Carmageddon in its ability to influence the public,” said Dave Sotero, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is managing the $1.1-billion freeway-widening project.
This closure, he added, is similar to Carmageddon but affects only the northbound side. Three of five northbound lanes between Getty Center Drive and Ventura Boulevard will be closed during the day.
They are the three lanes closest to the freeway median, where workers will be paving. The remaining two lanes, Sotero emphasized, will not be able to accommodate the usual 405 traffic nor will Sepulveda Boulevard be able to handle spillover during the day.
Southbound lanes will be unaffected during the day, but one or two lanes will probably be closed at night, Sotero said.
Metro and the California Department of Transportation are advising motorists to scope out alternate routes and to monitor traffic conditions via Twitter, Facebook, news reports and Metro’s 405 project website.