Officials say 57-hour 'Century Crunch' will close road to LAX in July

Officials say 57-hour 'Century Crunch' will close road to LAX in July
A rendering of the Crenshaw Line light-rail station set to be built near LAX after the demolition this weekend of an old railroad bridge. (Metro)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and other local officials warned drivers to expect some major road closures next month near Los Angeles International Airport as construction gets underway for a new Crenshaw rail line.

For 57 hours over the long weekend of July 25 to July 28, workers will be demolishing a defunct railroad bridge at Century and Aviation boulevards, clearing the site for a new light-rail train station.


The related closures are being dubbed the "Century Crunch" because Century Boulevard is a main artery into LAX, and the work will occur during what airport officials say is one of the busiest travel seasons of the year.

"If it is at all humanly possible, avoid the area if you can," County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said at a news conference Monday.

The airport expects about 200,000 passengers every day, and a third of airport traffic typically comes through the Century Boulevard entrance, officials said.

Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of LAX-operator Los Angeles World Airports, said that real-time traffic information would be available on the airport's Twitter page and website.

"We can do our best to forecast," she said, "but what's really going to count is what's happening on that day."

The closures will begin at 9 p.m. on Friday, July 25, and end at 6 a.m. on Monday, July 28. It will also affect the southbound traffic lanes on Aviation Boulevard in that area, though the northbound lanes will remain open.

Lindsey advised passengers who must go to the airport to allot extra time to get there.

The demolition is key to the creation of the new $2.06-billion Crenshaw line. A new bridge needs to be built that can support rail traffic in two directions, instead of just one that the current bridge supports. The rail line will run at ground level from 48th to 60th streets along Crenshaw Boulevard. The north-south Crenshaw Line will connect the Mid-City Expo Line with the South Bay's Green Line.

After the rail overpass comes down, at least one lane of Century Boulevard in each direction will remain closed for 16 months while the new rail bridge is constructed.

"World-class cities also have world-class transit," Garcetti said Monday about the Crenshaw rail line. He said officials are trying to make sure "Century Crunch" causes little disruption, in the same way early warnings helped avoid traffic jams during 2011's so-called Carmageddon closure of the 405 Freeway. The feared congestion  "never materialized,"  the mayor said.

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