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Archives for September 2012

Carmageddon 2: Race to the Finish Line

Crews are demolishing the Mulholland Bridge over the 405 freeway. Work stopped briefly on Saturday when the east end of the bridge broke off in one piece (see red circle on left). (Source: CBSLA.com)

It’s day two of Carmageddon II, the the weekend closure of the major artery that links West L.A. and the San Fernando Valley. Construction crews say demolition of the Mulholland Bridge over the 405 freeway is running  on schedule, and they promise, ‘no matter what,’ that the freeway WILL open on time, by 5 AM Monday, just in time for the morning rush hour. Kiewit Construction has a strong incentive to make that deadline. They will be fined $6,000 per lane – per every ten minutes that the freeway remains closed past 5 AM.

The sound of heavy jack hammering could be heard from miles away on Sunday morning, as heavy equipment chunked away at the bridge.  There was a minor glitch at around 4PM Saturday, when a giant piece of the east end of the bridge came down in one huge chunk.  John Baird of KNX Radio was on the scene, he said the piece of concrete “was the size of three or four railroad cars”  (see red circled area in photo). No one was hurt, but work was stopped for over an hour so structural engineers could assess the situation. Now, they say, that portion of the old bridge will be broken up from the ground rather than above.

A tricky part of the demolition will come on Sunday when crews knock down the tall, think pillars holding up the bridge. They weigh about a ton each, so it’s critical that they fall away from freeway lanes, toward the dirt hillsides, as not to damage the roadway.

Metro officials have been urging residents to ‘play and stay near home’ during the 53 hour 405 closure and, except for some crowded roads inWest L.A. and along Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu-Santa Monica, traffic has been lighter than usual for a weekend in Los Angeles.

Watch live streaming video of Carmageddon work in progress on CBSLA.com.  View real time traffic conditions with this L.A. freeway map.

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Shuttle Endeavour’s Final Flight

The Hollywood Sign is one of several landmarks the shuttle Endeavour is expected to soar over on its final flight. (photo: Traffic411)

Southern California is known for its fabulous weather, beautiful beaches and horrible traffic. Any driver will tell you, it doesn’t have to be rush hour to find yourself stuck in gridlock. So, imagine what might happen to L.A freeways later this morning when a 747 jumbo jet with a space shuttle riding on its back soars low across the area.

In just a few hours, Space shuttle Endeavour will make its final flight, leaving Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). But, before it touches down at L.A.X, Endeavor is expected to fly over some of the areas most iconic landmarks.

NASA hasn’t released the shuttle’s flight plan, CBS Los Angeles is reporting these are some of the landmarks where Endeavour will tour: Malibu, Venice Beach, Griffith Observatory, the Hollywood Sign, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, LAX, The USS Iowa, The Getty Museum, Universal Studios, California Science Center, The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, and Disneyland.

CBS LA is reporting this is the possible flight path of the space shuttle Endeavor as it makes its final flight. (credit: CBS)

These landmarks are scattered across Southern California, so Endeavour could be visible in the skies for 90 minutes or more. Many excited people are pre-planning their viewing spots, but there will undoubtedly be plenty of drivers caught off guard when they witness the once in a lifetime flyover. See the CBS story here

The spectacle could cause accidents, as drivers take their eyes off the road. It will likely bring freeways to a standstill. Drivers are advised to pull to the side of the road and stop their vehicles if they want to watch the shuttle flyover today, which is expected to take place between 10 am and noon.

Endeavour will make the final landing of its career at LAX around 12:45 pm PT, where it will be stored in a hanger until next month. Then the shuttle will make its way through city streets to its final home, the California Science Center.

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