After weeks of warnings, “Jamzilla” came to the Sepulveda Pass tonight as an 80-hour paving operation on the San Diego (405) Freeway that will shut down most or all of the northbound freeway at various times throughout the holiday weekend got underway.
Although not as dire as the full freeway shutdowns dubbed “Carmageddon” and “Carmageddon II,” transportation officials still urged motorists to avoid unnecessary trips in the Sepulveda Pass to prevent massive traffic congestion.
Just before 10 p.m., ramps began closing in the affected area of the northbound San Diego Freeway between Getty Center Drive and Ventura Boulevard. Lanes were scheduled to start closing next, with the full freeway closing in the stretch from 1-6 a.m.
When the northbound freeway is not fully closed, only two lanes will be open. The entire northbound freeway will be shut down during overnight hours on the following schedule:
- 1-6 a.m. Saturday
- 2-7 a.m. Sunday
- midnight to 5 a.m. Monday
- midnight to 5 a.m. Tuesday
The full freeway will reopen at 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Officials with Metro, which is overseeing the $1 billion San Diego Freeway construction project in the Sepulveda Pass, warned that if people don't avoid the area during the closures, local streets and other freeways could become severely congested.
The closures and lane restrictions will accommodate what Metro calls a complex paving operation in the 5.6-mile stretch, with the contractor, Kiewit Infrastructure West, pouring single layers of pavement at a time.
Metro officials compared the operation to baking layers of a wedding cake -- a far more delicate task than the bridge demolition that prompted the “Carmageddon” full-freeway closures.
“Operationally speaking, demolishing a bridge is a much simpler operation than paving and striping freeway lanes that must return to public use as quickly as possible,” said K.N. Murthy, executive director of transit project delivery at Metro.
“It's the essential difference between destroying a structure and building a structure. Building something is much more difficult, and the paving methods we are using vary between each material type and have specific requirements that must be adhered to.”
In addition to the paving, crews will also shift the centerline of the freeway 20 feet to the west for about 1,000 feet, in the area where the San Diego Freeway winds down into the San Fernando Valley.
Advice, updates and details on the freeway closure are available at http://www.lawa.org/405, or on Twitter at http://www.Twitter.com/I--405.
Motorists can also access a Jamzilla hotline by calling 5-1-1 and saying “Jamzilla” or by visiting http://www.go511.com.
--City News Service