Los Angeles drivers, beware: For 80 hours this long Presidents Day weekend, most or all lanes of a key stretch of the northbound 405 Freeway will be closed.
The shutdowns through the Sepulveda Pass — from about 10 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Tuesday — will enable workers to pave and restripe the highway where they've been adding a carpool lane.
Officials are urging drivers to avoid traveling north through West L.A. and the Sepulveda Pass during the closures, nicknamed by transportation officials as Jamzilla. During daytime hours, two northbound lanes will be open, but all five will be shut at night.
Jamzilla recalls the Carmageddon full-freeway weekend closures of 2011 and 2012, which gave workers time and space to demolish the Mulholland Bridge.
This closure is similar to those but affects only the northbound side, said Dave Sotero, a spokesman for the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is managing the $1.1-billion project. Officials said it is unlikely to end early, as the closures did during the Carmageddon weekends.
Three of five northbound lanes between Getty Center Drive and Ventura Boulevard will be closed. The remaining two lanes, Sotero emphasized, will not be able to accommodate all of 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 probably will be closed at night, Sotero said.
The full northbound closure will not happen until 1 a.m. Saturday, Sotero added.
Metro and the California Department of Transportation are advising drivers to scope out alternate routes and to monitor traffic conditions via Twitter, Facebook, news reports and Metro's 405 project website.
In a bid to ease the 405 Freeway's notorious congestion, Metro and Caltrans in 2009 began preliminary work on the final 10-mile leg of a carpool lane through the pass. In addition to completing the northbound "high occupancy vehicle" link between Orange County and the San Fernando Valley, the project called for building new onramps and offramps, demolishing and rebuilding three bridges and adding miles of retaining and sound walls.