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LA Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky - September 21, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012 - noon to 1 p.m.

Live Chat transcript

Good morning LA. Our guest Sup. Yaroslavsky is watching the shuttle landing. We'll be starting in a few minutes with help from our construction chief KN Murthy. Zev will be here soon.

Thank you, Executive Director of Transit Project Delivery, Mr. Murthy for helping with today's chat. Let's get started!

What time does the shutdown begin? I can't find the answer in any of the material I've received. Marvin Kaphan

On and off-ramps start closing at 7pm on Friday, Sept 28.  Freeway lanes will begin to close at 10pm and the entire freeway will be closed at midnight. The closure boundaries are northbound 405 from the 10 to the 101 and southbound 405 will be closed from the 101 to Getty Center Drive.

I will be in Manhattan Beach on 9/28 until after Midnight and live in should I get home? David Vogel

Hi David!  You will be able to take northbound 405 to National Blvd.  At National you will be detoured onto northbound Sepulveda.  You will be able to take Sepulveda and all local streets up north to Westwood. Sepulveda will remain open through the Sepulveda Pass during the entire weekend.

Is the contractor getting an incentive to finish work early?

No. They have a disincentive for finishing late. It's $6,000 for every lane of freeway, every 10 minutes. So if the entire freeway is closed for ten minutes it's $60,000 penalty.

Some friends are planning to drive to San Diego for the weekend of Carmageddon. Is this a mistake? Will they be stuck in traffic Sunday night? Please tell people what they should expect if they head south for the weekend. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!

I do not know your starting point, but if you are leaving the Los Angeles area headed south I suggest using an alternative freeway than the 405.  Sepulveda Blvd will be open from the Valley to the Westside so drivers will be able to access southbound 405 after the Getty Center entrance.

Will the work finish early like last time?

Well, there's 30 percent more work to be done in the same 53-hour period. Caltrans is also doing maintenance work at the same time, although there is a little bit of contingency time inserted into the schedule. Ending early is not likely.

405 north from 110 contains noise absorbing asphalt. Will 405 & Sepulveda from Wilshire north to Moraga be resurfaced in this same material? Richard Spackman

No, we will not be using this material on the freeway or Sepulveda.

Zev, My question pertains to the southbound off-ramp at Sunset. I travel southbound every morning and the line to exit stretches forever. Are there any plans to alleviate this congestion? Mel Moss

Yes, Mel!  On Monday morning, Sept 24,  we will be opening the newly completed Sunset Bridge.  Southbound Church lane will now have a double right hand turn lane to move traffic from Church onto Sunset quickly.  We believe this will improve traffic flow coming from the freeway.

What types of utilities are in the Mulholland Bridge?

The utilities include water, power, gas, and cable.

Good morning Supervisor! Thanks for joining us today. Why don't we start by having you tell us about your plans for Carmaggedon II weekend? Are you staying local? If so, are there any places in your neighborhood you want to recommend?

Zev has arrived from his rooftop shuttle viewing!

What an amazing sight.  I will be at a Community Meeting in Sun Valley next weekend but primarily i will be monitoring the Carmageddon developments and frequenting my local businesses and eateries.

Given that the comparative Northbound vs Southbound morning traffic flows on I-405 on a typical weekday is much much heavier Southbound, if both sides of the freeway cannot be re-opened on schedule, will priority be given to re-opening Southbound I-405, possibly with a strategy that opens Northbound I-405 as far as Getty Center Drive and converts Sepulveda to one-way Northbound through the Tunnel. Larry Scholnick

Hi Larry, thank you for your question. The Unified Command, including Caltrans, Metro, DOT, LAFD, LAPD and CHP, will be on hand all weekend to make on-site decisions if necessary.  We are confident that the entire freeway will open at 6am on Monday morning, October 1.

I have been telling people -"Carmaggedon I only worked because everyone did what they were asked - stayed local." We can do it again. Sylvia

Absolutely, Sylvia! Thank you for your cooperation, and I hope everyone else follows your lead.

What if there's another brush fire in the Sepulveda Pass on Carmageddon weekend? How prepared are you for a natural disaster like that?

LA Fire and LAPD have contingency plans. They're going to deploy resources on both sides of the closure to ensure fast response times.

I live directly in the middle of the freeway closure and the only access is from Sepulveda Blvd at Bel Air Crest Rd. Will there be traffic control to allow me to exit my community and then return during the freeway closure? Lester J. Schwartz

Hi Lester, thank you for writing in today.  Yes, Traffic Control Officers will be placed all along Sepulveda throughout the closure limits.  They will be helping to keep traffic moving and allow residents to get to and from their homes.  Strike teams will also be placed throughout the area to make quick trips to any area that needs help.

Is there going to be a Carmageddon III?

No, Mulholland bridge is being demolished and built in two halves.  Last year we demolished the south side and this year we will demolish the north side.  In a year we will have a new Mulholland bridge.

What work will be going on this weekend? Any closures? Any closures for the Sunset Bridge project?

There is a lot of work scheduled this weekend for both Sunset bridge and the Mulholland bridge.  I encourage you to visit the project website to read Construction Notices that detail all closures and times. We are excited to announce that the newly completed Sunset Bridge will be opening to the motoring public on Monday morning, Sept 24 at 6am.

What precautions are put in place by Metro to make sure the bridge columns fall in the right direction during demolition? What sort of impact, if any, could there if the columns fall in the wrong direction after the initial demolition? Matt Sanderson Editor Brentwood Patch

Hello Patch!  The demolition has been engineered to ensure that the columns will fall in the safe direction towards the embankment, just as we did last summer. The demolition contractor has been doing this for a long time and is an expert in this field. We have every confidence that this will be a non-event.

Last year some people had dinner on the freeway. Will that be ok this year?

Absolutely not!  The CHP Incident Commander has indicated that anyone caught on the freeway with a YouTube moment will be arrested.  The CHP has increased their deployment this year to ensure that the freeway remains clear.  This is necessary for safety and emergency responders and also because the contractor will be doing additional maintenance work throughout the 10 mile closure.

Once the project is over, is there a possibility that something useful beyond a car pool lane will be done with the extra space? What about a train or a busway or something that will take hundreds of cars OFF the freeway and save us from that daily crunch over the hill and back down again?

Measure R, the half cent transit sales tax approved by the voters in 2008, earmarks $1 billion for a transit line through the Sepulveda Pass between West LA and the SF Valley.  If the voters approve Measure J this November, which would extend Measure R by 30 years, the construction of that line would be accelerated by more than a decade.

For Carmageddon II to be as successful as Carmageddon I we need the public's cooperation.  If everyone does their share this should be a very pleasant weekend.

Will Sepulveda Boulevard be available that weekend? Sheila Goldner

Like last year, Sepulveda Boulevard will be open, but is intended for local access only, NOT diverted 405 traffic.  Stay on the freeways and bypass this area completely.

What happens if the bridge isn't open Monday morning in time for the commute? How are we supposed to get to work?

The Unified Command will be taking charge in the unlikely event that the bridge or freeway is not ready to open.  However, we have every confidence that we will open by Monday morning, October 1 at 6am.

Do you think the public will stay off the roads next weekend? Or will they assume since it was quiet last year that it's safe to go out?

We fully expect that Los Angeles motorists will cooperate this time as they did last summer.  Metro's website has up to 300 local destinations that are offering discounts throughout the closure weekend.  Check it out to Eat, Shop, and Play locally. and then click on the banner that says "Eat, Shop and Play Locally".

Helicopters kept me awake during last closure. How can you make sure they don't fly over all weekend long?

We can't. Some of the helicopters were press and some were life saving agencies, such as police and fire. These are necessary for people to do their jobs. Metro does not control, nor does it have jurisdiction over air space. Congressman Howard Berman and I have appealed to news media to be considerate of neighbors by flying at higher altitudes.

Will Metrolink/Metro Rail/Amtrak/Metro Bus be running any extra service on Carmageddon weekend?

Yes, Metrolink will be adding service next weekend and Metro has additional transit options now that the Expo line is open and the Orange Line has been extended to Chatsworth.  We also encourage you to visit local destinations around these and many other transit options and enjoy substantial discounts Carmageddon weekend.  Visit the Metro website and click on "Destination Discounts".

Seems like there are a bunch of problems happening on Expo and Blue lines lately. Is Metro going to be at the top of its game next weekend so I can actually use it to get around town?

Unified Command is very experienced and prepared to handle the 405 closure.  With the public's cooperation this should not be a dramatic weekend.  As to the Blue line, the MTA Board has ordered a review of the accident and safety issues associated with it.  We expect a report in the next few weeks.  The Expo line has had a remarkable opening over the last three months with 18,000 average daily boardings and growing.  Since Expo opened we have not had any pedestrian or motor vehicle accidents. That is a remarkable safety record.

For the residents who live walking distance to the demolition, will there be an area delineated for public access to observe the demo?

Unfortunately this year, with the north side of the bridge being demolished, there are no viewing areas in close proximity.  The viewing areas that were used last year will only have a view of the newly completed south side of the bridge.

Mr. Yaroslavsky, the upcoming work has been described as a substantially more significant undertaking. What lessons were learned/best practices during last year's 'Carmageddon' that you can apply this year to get done on time?

Last year we did not have any problems with equipment or construction.  Also, the cooperation of Los Angeles residents by staying off the roads allowed the contractor and the Unified Command to focus on the demolition.  The contractor has a very well scripted plan for all 53 hours of demolition work as well as a contingency plan.

Hi there what about deploying an interactive "detour" routes map?

The project has detour maps available on its website,  The project also worked with Google Maps, Map Quest and GPS providers to have the freeway and ramp closures synched with their systems.

I have a flight out of LAX next Sunday afternoon and I'm coming from the Valley. Is there any chance the 405 will be open? If not, what route would be best? Hollywood Fwy through downtown? 5 fwy? What are authorities recommending?

Hello.  We do not plan to be open on Sunday afternoon.  My suggestion would be to use the LAX Flyaway from Van Nuys and have someone else do the driving!  If you need to drive, visit to see live traffic updates.

What's the fastest way for me to access the VA if the freeway is closed?

Sepulveda and Wilshire will both be open around the VA.  We recommend planning ahead and allowing ample time to get to your destination.

Will the corridor be canvassed by police, fire department and all sorts of emergency responders like Carmageddon I?

Yes, the Unified Command will be on duty throughout the entire Carmageddon II weekend.  They will be staging throughout the Sepulveda Pass, as they did last year, to be ready to respond to any incidents.

What's going on with the Wilshire Ramps. Which ramp will be next and when will the whole thing be finished.

Ramp Jam continues!   The next extended Wilshire ramp closure is expected to come at the end of the year.  Exact details will be coming soon.  We were excited to reopen the first two ramps around Labor Day, 3 weeks early!
The entire Wilshire ramp reconstruction will be completed at the end of 2013.

Thanks for joining us today, Sup. Yaroslavsky. And thanks to KN Murthy and other experts for stepping up to the plate. Is there anything you'd like to add to your thoughts in today's chat?

Be mindful of Carmageddon II and the role you can play in making this a nonevent in our County.  Avoid the 405 corridor and its environs.  Eat, Shop and Play locally and take advantage of the many discounts and packages that have been made available to the general public that weekend.  We are counting on your cooperation and have an enjoyable car free weekend.  Go Bruins! and click on " Eat, Shop and Play " button.