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'Jamzilla' shutdown begins on Los Angeles freeway

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- “Jamzilla” has begun. But whether the freeway closure becomes a monster worthy of its name remains to be seen.

Ramp and lane closures expected to last until early Tuesday began late Friday night on Interstate 405 as the Los Angeles region undergoes another major freeway shutdown with a frightening nickname.

Transportation planners have practically begged Los Angeles area drivers to stay away from a heavily traveled stretch of Interstate 405 over the Presidents Day weekend.

Workers were repaving nearly six miles of northbound lanes over the Sepulveda Pass connecting West Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley as part of a project to add carpool lanes starting early Saturday.

Two northbound lanes were set to remain open during the day, but all five lanes will be closed at night. The plan calls for finishing the work about 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Typically during those 80 hours, about 150,000 vehicles would drive north over the freeway.

There should be minimal impact on southbound lanes, according to Dave Sotero, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is helping fund the work along with the state and federal governments.

Traffic planners hope the weeks of warnings they have given motorists will mean just minimal traffic jams.

That is what happened on the same stretch of freeway several years ago, when nightmare gridlock from a closure dubbed “Carmageddon” did not materialize because drivers heeded pleas to avoid the area.

Carmageddon and Jamzilla were spawned by $1.1 billion in improvements being made to Interstate 405 that include higher-capacity on- and off-ramps and bridges that meet seismic standards.

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