LOS ANGELES (AP) — Traffic was flowing again on the city’s busiest freeway following a weekend closure that was hailed a success by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa after it didn’t result in the “Carmageddon” of epic traffic jams.
Bridgework that forced the closure of Interstate 405 was completed and lanes of the freeway through the Sepulveda Pass began reopening Sunday night, hours ahead of a planned reopening for the Monday morning commute. The first drivers allowed back on the roadway cheered and honked their car horns as news cameras rolled.
A similar closure occurred last year to demolish portions of the half-century-old Mulholland Drive bridge to allow construction of an additional freeway lane. The south side of the freeway was removed last year, and the north-side lanes stayed standing until the south side was rebuilt.
Like last year, city residents heeded months of warnings to stay off the road and weekend traffic was unusually light.
Villaraigosa said his hope for a “Carmaheaven” came true and he thanked drivers for their cooperation.
“The real stars of this sequel were the motorists who took advantage of a car-free weekend and stayed off the road,” he said.
Like Villaraigosa, some drivers couldn’t resist comparing the scenario to a movie.
“It’s like that movie ‘Vanilla Sky,’ … where Times Square is empty,” Sterling Gates told KABC-TV. “It’s kind of like that. We’re known for our traffic, and it’s just nothing.”
The closed, 10-mile section of the 405 carries about 500,000 motorists each day on a typical weekend, according to the Los Angeles Times. California Department of Transportation officials said that in order for “Carmageddon II” to be a success, at least two-thirds of those drivers need to stay off the road.
The rare sight of a carless freeway attracted many onlookers, including seven people who were cited for sneaking onto the roadway, the California Highway Patrol said.
Last year, three people slipped onto the freeway at the crack of dawn and snapped photos of themselves enjoying a gourmet meal on an eerily empty freeway.
More Related Stories
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- UK Military: London attack victim was a "model soldier"
- Billionaire hedge funder: Babies, breast-feeding "kill" focus, keep women from succeeding
- "Bookless library" set to open in Texas
- 2 more arrested in London attacks
- Glenn Beck: CNN interview with atheist tornado survivor was a setup!
- Incoming BBC news director on journalism gender gap: "We can do better"
- Illegal construction, shoddy materials at fault in Bangladesh factory disaster
- Ahead of Obama's speech, U.S. acknowledges four American drone killings
- Must-see morning clip: Bill O'Reilly visits "The Daily Show"
- Lawsuit alleges anti-gay hiring practices at ExxonMobil
- Boy Scouts poised to vote, still greatly divided on gay youth
- House supporters of KXL received $56m from fossil fuel industry
- 80-year-old becomes oldest to climb Mount Everest
- Before FBI shooting man implicated self, Tsarnaev in triple murder
- Paul McCartney backs Pussy Riot
- UK emergency committee convenes after attack
- Brave scout leader tried to reason with London attackers
- If Alex Pareene were a cable news executive...
- El Salvador court delays ruling on abortion case while woman's life hangs in the balance
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11