Road work to halt during 'Carmegeddon'

Construction on the Golden State (5) Freeway through Burbank will halt over the weekend to ease stress on what could become a major relief valve for motorists seeking to get around the 405 Freeway closure, transportation officials said.

The work stoppage will affect all freeways in L.A. County during the closure to prevent the so-called “carmegeddon” from actually happening, although crews might still work on a few projects that won’t impact traffic flow, said Patrick Chandler, spokesman for the California Department of Transportation.

From Friday night to Monday morning, the 405 Freeway will be closed for 53 hours. The biggest part of the project will be demolition of the south side of the Mulholland Drive Bridge. For 11 months, crews will reconstruct that stretch of the bridge. Then, the north side of the bridge will be torn down, requiring another extended freeway closure.

Caltrans officials say they don’t know if I-5 will be especially hard-hit during the closure. It and the Hollywood (170) Freeway are the closest north-south connectors to the 405, which will be closed from Interstate 10 to the 101 Freeway.

“We won’t know until the weekend,” Chandler said.

On an average day, 263,000 cars pass through the I-5/Ventura (134) Freeway interchange, according to Caltrans. The average drops to 183,000 cars at the Hollywood Way exit, although no data is available for a weekend average, Chandler said.

For Burbank and Glendale residents who need to head into the San Fernando or Antelope valleys, Metrolink is expanding the number of available round trips.

Metrolink usually has no service on the Ventura line on weekends, but it’s adding seven round trips each day this weekend, said Sherita Coffelt, a spokeswoman for the rail agency.

On the Antelope Valley line, three round trips will be added on Saturday and six will be added on Sunday, making for nine round trips daily, Coffelt said.

The Ventura line, which goes to Van Nuys and Chatsworth, stops at stations in Glendale, downtown Burbank and at the Bob Hope Airport. The Antelope Valley line, which runs to Santa Clarita and Palmdale, stops only at the Glendale and downtown Burbank stations.

Metrolink has 13,000 to 15,000 riders a weekend, Coffelt said. No rider statistics are available for specific stations on weekends, she added, but of Metrolink’s 55 stations, the downtown Burbank station is the sixth busiest.

The Metro 155 bus line, which goes from Burbank to Sherman Oaks, will be part of the system-wide campaign offering free rides during the 405 closure, said agency spokeswoman Helen Gilstrap. Buses will run their regular weekend schedule — one bus every hour.

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