ABC7 Traffic Center

Traffic control center ready for 'Carmageddon 2'

Monday, September 17, 2012

There are less than two weeks away from the big closure on the 405 Freeway, also known as "Carmageddon 2." During the weekend of September 29, the 405 will be shut down in both directions from the 101 all the way to the 10. It's one of the busiest stretches of freeway in the world, and the shutdown could have a ripple effect on traffic all over Southern California. Crews will be working to complete the demolition of the Mulholland Bridge, continuing what they began during the original "Carmageddon" last year.

And while the first Carmageddon did not result in the traffic disaster many expected, the sequel could be a very different story.

You've seen the workers preparing and the officials warning people to stay off the streets. But there is another contingent of Carmageddon-planning you don't see.

"This is a large city with a lot of functions all the time, so we're accustomed to adjusting, but we're hoping that the public does what they did last time and stays out of the area," said Greg Savelli, chief of parking enforcement operations, Los Angeles Dept. of Transportation.

The Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control (ATSAC) Center is located at the bottom of L.A. City Hall, where workers watch and can change 4,400 traffic signals around the city on 400 cameras.

The center will be staffed 24-7 during Carmageddon 2, along with police, firefighters and engineers, all to keep the roads running smoothly and to be in position to respond if they have to.

"Putting that traffic on city streets is normally surprisingly manageable, but for this corridor, since Sepulveda is the only really north-south alternative, it became a more difficult situation to manage," said traffic engineer Edward Yu.

And as if the closure of one of the world's busiest freeways for an entire weekend wasn't enough of a challenge, they are also facing other obstacles, like big events that would congest traffic even on a normal day, and the closure of surface streets.

The Herbalife LA Triathlon goes from Venice Beach to L.A. Live. Venice Boulevard and other surface streets will be shut down for that event.

Then there's the Dodger game, not to mention shows and other events around Los Angeles. Combine that with the normal 500,000 cars that travel the freeway on a given weekend and the possibility of natural disasters, like the fire off the 405 last week, and this is no easy task.

But with one Carmageddon behind us, and months of planning for the next, many drivers say they'll do what they can to make it easier for everybody.

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Tags:
road closure, road construction, abc7 traffic center, rudabeh shahbazi
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