(Photos: Reuters / Eric Thayer)
Day one of the Los Angeles freeway weekend closure known as “Carmageddon” began without major incident Saturday morning, although it’s too early to rule out any commuter meltdowns.
The full closure of the 10-mile stretch of Interstate 405, which is considered one of the busiest in the United States, began Friday evening at midnight and is scheduled to end Monday at 5 a.m.
Officials said the shutdown was necessary so that construction crews could tear down half of the Mulholland Drive bridge over the freeway and add car pool lanes.
A Hollywood-style media blitz that included celebrity tweets warning people of the closure and suggesting drivers go car-free for the weekend has apparently been successful. Normally congested stretches of road leading up to the freeway had extremely light traffic late Friday evening and Saturday morning.
Local news stations have reporters and cameras seemingly everywhere, giving Carmageddon live reports, round-the-clock coverage. Reporters at one L.A. TV station are doing double duty, broadcasting live reports and giving out “I Survived the 405” t-shirts at the same time.
The street-to-street broadcasting has one KTLA TV reporter telling viewers, “Not since O.J. Simpson have we seen so much coverage about a freeway.”
A few L.A. TV stations are taking on-air phone calls from viewers (and drivers) looking for alternate routes.
However, Angelenos seem to be mostly having fun with the hyped-up closure, taking part in and offering alternative weekend activities that do not include driving on the 405.