TRAVEL ADVISORY - "CARMAGEDDON II"
PLAN AHEAD FOR SEVERE TRAFFIC CONGESTION AND DELAYS EXPECTED WITH I-405 SAN DIEGO FREEWAY CLOSURE ON SEPTEMBER 29, 30 AND EARLY MORNING OCTOBER 1, 2012
Updated on August 23, 2012
This webpage is dedicated to providing travelers, motorists and airport employees with information, resources and tips so you can PLAN AHEAD to avoid as much as possible the severe traffic congestion expected the weekend of Saturday, September 29 through early morning Monday, October 1, 2012. The traffic delays will be due to a scheduled 10-mile (16-kilometer) closure of the I-405 San Diego Freeway between the I-10 Santa Monica Freeway on the south and U.S. 101 freeway on the north. This segment of freeway is known as the Sepulveda Pass. The closure is the second phase of the demolition of the Mulholland Street Bridge overpass. The first phase demolished the south side in July 2011, which also required the complete closure of the I-405 through the Sepulveda Pass. Last year’s demolition and forecasts of severe traffic congestion and delays lead to the project being dubbed “Carmageddon.”
The I-405 is the busiest freeway in the entire United States. It is a major north-south artery that connects the San Fernando Valley and northern Los Angeles County to other parts of Los Angeles. The I-405 freeway also serves the densely populated Los Angeles Westside and Southern California coastal communities, and is the primary freeway serving LAX. Half a million motorists drive this portion of the I-405 over a typical weekend.
Traffic on the I-405 in both directions will be diverted around the closure onto surface streets and to other freeways in the region which merge near downtown Los Angeles. Click here for map of area: www.metro.net/projects_studies/I405/images/I-405-map-improvements.pdf
I-405 Freeway Closure Schedule:
- Friday, September 28 as early as 7 p.m.: ramps and connectors to the freeway begin closing
- Friday, September 28 as early as 10 p.m.: freeway lanes begin closing to ensure full freeway closure at midnight
- Saturday, September 29 at 12 a.m. (midnight): full freeway closure all day
- Sunday, September 30: full freeway closure all day
- Monday, October 1 at 5 a.m.: freeway lanes begin opening
- Monday, October 1 by 6 a.m.: ramps and connectors finish reopening
Impacts to Air Travelers, Motorists, and Airport Employees
General Airport Operations:
LAX is forecasted to serve more than 172,000 passengers each day on September 29 and 30. A daily average of 66,000 vehicles are expected to come to LAX that weekend. While less than on weekdays, approximately 20,000 airport-wide employees are scheduled to work each weekend day. Operationally, the airport-wide community will be challenged to ensure weekend employees of airlines; airline contractors who provide baggage handling, aircraft cleaning, catering, and other services; federal security screening and immigration/customs agencies; law enforcement; ground transportation providers, etc. report to work on time so passengers do not encounter delays due to lack of staff.
Friday nights and Monday mornings are two peak travel periods at LAX. On Friday night beginning at 7 p.m., when on- and off-ramps and the number of lanes are gradually reduced to full closure, thousands of passengers are expected to arrive and depart LAX. The passenger volume especially peaks for departing international flights between 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. On Monday morning beginning at 4 p.m. to 9 a.m., when the freeway will gradually reopen, thousands of passengers are expected to arrive at LAX for the morning wave of domestic departures.
Flights at LAX are expected to operate normally the weekend of September 29-30. Passengers who miss their flights without advance notice or cancellation to their airlines are generally expected to pay fees that airlines charge for rebooking flights. So, it is important that passengers ensure they arrive on time for their departure flights.
Motorists driving northbound or southbound I-405 will be redirected to other regional freeways. NO special consideration will be given to whether the motorists are driving private vehicles or public transportation vehicles, such as taxi cabs, municipal and long-distance buses, door-to-door shuttle vans, limousines, etc.).
Motorists driving to or from the north of LAX (i.e., San Fernando Valley, northern Los Angeles County, and further north of the metropolitan L.A. area) should expect to be redirected to other regional freeways – most of which lead to downtown Los Angeles. From downtown L.A., freeway traffic will be diverted back to westbound I-10 Santa Monica Freeway to return to the L.A. Westside and beach communities. This detour is approximately 25 miles (40 kilometers).
Motorists driving to or from coastal communities north of LAX (i.e. Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu, etc.) should expect Lincoln Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway to be congested.
Motorists driving to or from Santa Barbara and Ventura counties west of Los Angeles will find the I-405 completely closed. Motorists have the option of using north-south surface streets from US 101 to Pacific Coast Highway to Lincoln Boulevard leading to LAX.
Motorists driving to or from east or south of LAX may initially believe they will be unaffected because they are coming from directions away from the freeway closure area. However, airport officials advise motorists prepare for traffic congestion as they approach the exits from the primary freeways serving LAX: the I-405 and the I-105 Century freeways. Major surface streets leading to/from LAX may also be congested: Imperial Highway and Century Boulevard on the east; and Sepulveda, Aviation and Hawthorne boulevards on the south.
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Plan ahead. Use public transit, especially a combination of local or regional rail and the LAX FlyAway® nonstop bus service at Union Station. If you must drive, avoid impacted areas and minimize the number of vehicle trips.
Following are general guidelines for checking in for a departing flight:
- Arrive in your airline ticketing/check-in lobby two hours before departure time for domestic U.S. flights and three hours before an international flight.
- Save time at the airport by checking in on your airline’s Internet website within 24 hours of your departure time to obtain an electronic boarding pass. This will allow you to go straight to federal passenger security screening. You can also pay any fees charged by airlines for checked luggage and obtain boarding passes before coming to the airport. Airlines have separate lines for passengers who already have their boarding passes and simply need to check their luggage.
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Tips for Getting To and From LAX
Click on map to enlarge
- Ride the rails and take the LAX FlyAway® bus at Union Station.
Have someone drive you to or from a station for Metro Rail, Metrolink or Amtrak and ride the rails to Union Station, where you can ride the inexpensive LAX FlyAway® nonstop bus to and from LAX. Public rail options will be the most predictable and reliable transportation during the weekend.
Los Angeles County Metro System
Southern California 5-County Regional Metrolink System
- Metro Rail: The Metro Rail and dedicated bus-lane system extends throughout Los Angeles County with its hub at Union Station in downtown L.A. The system reaches Hollywood and west San Fernando Valley, Pasadena and Sierra Madre, East Los Angeles, Norwalk, South Los Angeles and Long Beach, Culver City, and Redondo Beach. The fare is $1.50 for the entire length of a Metro Rail Line. You can also buy a $5 day pass that lets you travel on Metro’s entire rail and bus system. The Metro Rail Line runs along the I-105 Century Freeway and every westbound train is met by a free LAX shuttle bus that drops off and picks up passengers in front of each airline terminal. See parking below. For more info: www.metro.net
- Metrolink: Metrolink serves the entire Southern California region of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura and North San Diego counties. Metrolink has regular weekend service on its Antelope Valley, Inland Empire-Orange County, Orange County and San Bernardino lines. Metrolink is providing special Carmageddon weekend service on its Ventura Line that extends from Ventura and Oxnard to Union Station. Metrolink also will add more trains during the weekend to its Antelope Valley Line that extends from Lancaster to Union Station. See parking below. For more info: www.metrolinktrains.com
- Free transfers to most local rail and bus: Your Metrolink ticket allows you to connect for free rides on most local transit services only. An additional fare payment may be required for express or other non-local bus service. All Metrolink tickets must be stamped with the same date to be valid for boarding connecting transit. Just show your Metrolink ticket to the driver or attendant upon boarding your connecting transit service.
- Metrolink has a $10 weekend pass for travel on its entire system.
- Free transfers to the LAX FlyAway®: Metrolink Monthly Pass holders can ride the LAX FlyAway® nonstop bus service between LAX and Union Station for free. Show your airline boarding pass for that day and your Metrolink Monthly Pass for a free transfer to/from the FlyAway®. Free transfer is NOT available at Irvine Station, Van Nuys and Westwood.
- Unrestricted weekend travel system-wide: All Monthly Pass holders have the ability to travel anywhere, anytime on Metrolink starting at 7 p.m. on Friday through 11:59 p.m. on Sundays, regardless of the origin and destination station indicated on the pass. This benefit does not extend to Amtrak trains.
- Free transfers to Amtrak through the Rail to Rail program: The Rail 2 Rail® program allows Metrolink Monthly Pass holders along the Orange and Ventura County corridors to travel on Amtrak Pacific Surfliner trains within the station pairs of their pass at no additional charge, including Saturday and Sunday. Metrolink passengers simply show their Monthly Pass and board any Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train or bus to their destination. The Rail 2 Rail® program does NOT include travel on Coast Starlight trains.
- Amtrak: Amtrak serves the entire U.S. and has regular weekend schedules. In particular, the Pacific Surfliner serves San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara northwest of L.A., Los Angeles and San Diego. From Oxnard to Los Angeles to Oceanside, Amtrak shares the same stations as Metrolink’s Ventura County and Orange County lines. For more info: www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=am/am2Station/Station_Page&code=LAX
- Park and Ride Lots: Parking is free at most Metro Rail and Metrolink park-and-ride lots. However, free parking is limited to up to 24 hours for Metro Rail and up to three days for Metrolink. Long-term paid parking is available at a few Metro Rail stations, including Union Station in downtown L.A. and the Del Mar Station in Pasadena on the Metro Rail Gold Line. If you need long-term parking and the Metro Rail or Metrolink station nearest you does not offer it, we advise you make arrangements for someone to drop you off at the station.
- Leave your car at home and share a ride
To help reduce the number of vehicles on the roadways, take shared-ride options:
- LAX FlyAway® nonstop buses : ALL FlyAway® routes will operate on their regular, published schedules during the Carmageddon II weekend. Fares at Union Station and Van Nuys are $7 one way and Westwood is $10 one way. Children 5 years old and younger are free on all routes. Traffic conditions will be monitored closely throughout the weekend. The Van Nuys and Westwood buses will use the most efficient route at the time of departure from those two locations and from LAX. Union Station service will follow its normal route. Long-term parking is available at daily rates of $6 at Union Station; $4 at Van Nuys and $11 weekdays/$8 weekends at Westwood. For more info: http://www.lawa.org/flyaway
- Door-to-door shuttle vans: Prime Time Shuttle and SuperShuttle door-to-door van companies are authorized to serve all Southern California counties. For more info: www.lawa.org/welcome_lax.aspx?id=1298
- Long-distance van: Roadrunner Shuttle door-to-door van company travels to Simi Valley (about 44 miles or 71 kilometers northwest of LAX), and to Ventura and Santa Barbara counties northwest of LAX. For more info:
- Scheduled commercial buses: Eight long-distance commercial bus companies offer service to various parts of Los Angeles County including the Antelope Valley; Orange County including major tourist venues such as Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Anaheim hotels and beach cities; Bakersfield, and Santa Barbara and Ventura counties northwest of LAX. For more info: www.lawa.org/welcome_lax.aspx?id=1296
- Municipal buses: Public bus authorities serving the LAX Metro Center are Los Angeles Metro Culver City Bus Lines, Santa Monica Big Blue Bus and Torrance Transit. For more info: www.lawa.org/welcome_lax.aspx?id=1240
- Taxis: Only authorized taxi cab companies whose taxis display an official seal issued by the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation are permitted in the airport. For more info: www.lawa.org/welcome_lax.aspx?id=942
NOTE: These “rubber tire” modes of transportation will be subject to traffic congestion and delays as drivers will follow recommended diversion routes. Vehicles that use meters to measure distance travelled (such as taxis) are not allowed to charge fares other than what is shown on their meters.
- Stay near LAX the night before your departure date.
- You can drive to and park at LAX in Economy Lot C ($12 per day) located at 96th Street and Sepulveda Boulevard or in Central Terminal Area parking structures ($30 per day) and take a free hotel courtesy shuttle to an LAX-area hotel. Accommodations range from inexpensive hostels with multi-bed rooms and shared showers to hotels with suites. Hotels authorized to operate free hotel courtesy shuttles at LAX: www.lawa.org/tenantLAXResult.aspx?airport=4&category=91&catname=HOTEL%20ACCOMMODATIONS&sindicator=fl
- Several LAX-area hotels regularly offer "Park-Sleep-Fly" packages, including:
(1) Best Western Airpark
(2) Best Western Airport Plaza Inn
(3) Best Western South Bay Hotel
(4) Comfort Inn and Suites
(5) Courtyard by Marriott El Segundo
(6) Courtyard by Marriott LAX
(7) Crowne Plaza LAX
(8) Doubletree Club Hotel - LAX
(9) Embassy Suites – LAX North
(10) Embassy Suites – LAX South
(11) Four Points Sheraton
(12) Hacienda Hotel
(13) Hilton Garden Inn
(14) Hilton Los Angeles Airport
(15) Hollywood Inn Express LAX
(16) Los Angeles Airport Marriott
(17) Ramada Plaza – Airport South
(18) Super 8 - Inglewood
(19) Travelodge – LAX Century Blvd.
For contact info for the above hotels:
- If you must drive, plan your route and monitor real-time traffic conditions.
Plan your route with a backup plan and allow yourself plenty of time to arrive in your airline ticketing/check-in lobby two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight. If you have a GPS device, program that before driving. Click here for maps and diversion routes:
BEFORE you get into the car, monitor real-time traffic conditions at:
L.A. City Department of Transportation monitors traffic on city streets on its Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control (ATSAC) system at: http://trafficinfo.lacity.org/index.html. For traffic on streets in and around LAX:
Caltrans provides current traffic status on California highways and state roads at:
Several organizations will post Tweets with up-to-the-minute freeway and roadway traffic conditions throughout the September 29-30 weekend. Sign up to receive Metro’s Tweets at: @I-405. For Tweets on airport and traffic conditions in an around LAX, sign up on LAX’s Twitter account at: www.Twitter.com/LAX_Official
REMINDER: California state law prohibits using hands to talk, text or browse the Internet on cell phones or other electronic devices while driving.
- Special Tips for Arriving Passengers
Passengers flying into LAX during the weekend of September 29-30 should expect traffic congestion on the roadways and freeways after they exit LAX. For the most part, arriving passengers leave the airport using one of the following ways:
Friends, relatives or business colleagues pick them up in personal vehicles.
Tour operators meet them with buses.
They take shared-ride public transportation such as a taxi, door-to-door shuttle van, long-distance bus, LAX FlyAway® bus, Metro Rail Green Line, municipal bus, and hotel courtesy shuttle van.
They rent a vehicle.
They use their own vehicle parked at or near the airport.
They connect on an outbound flight and have no need for local transportation.
If you are familiar with Los Angeles and someone would normally meet and pick you up at LAX, help reduce his/her drive time and the number of vehicle trips to and from LAX by taking shared-ride public transportations from LAX to your home, hotel, business or public transit stop closest to your local destination. For public transit options, see the sections above on:
A. Leave your car in the garage and share a ride.
B. Ride the rails and take the LAX FlyAway® bus at Union Station.
If you are renting a car, the car rental company’s employees will be monitoring real-time traffic conditions and can provide you with the best route to your local destination. Ensure the rental agency employee provides you with a map showing the location of the freeway closure, the recommended diversion routes, and up-to-the-minute information on traffic conditions before you set out. If traveling with children, ensure items you would normally bring on a car trip with children (such as snacks, beverage, toys music, etc.) are within easy reach.
- Fly by helicopter
Group 3 Aviation Van Nuys, an FAA-licensed helicopter Air Carrier G31A964J, based at Van Nuys Airport (VNY) at 16425 Hart Street, Van Nuys, CA 91406, offers one-way and round-trip on-demand helicopter service to LAX, Santa Monica Airport, Bob Hope Burbank Airport, and any other local municipal airport including downtown L.A. helipad. Landing fees may apply. Services begin Friday, September 28, 2012, from 12 noon to 10 pm; Saturday-Sunday, September 29 –September 30, 2012, from 7 a.m. to 10 pm; and Monday, October 1, 2012, from 7:00 am. The helicopter service will operate between Group 3 Aviation’s base of operation at VNY and Atlantic Aviation/LAX at 6411 West Imperial Highway, Los Angeles, CA 90045. Atlantic Aviation will provide van-type ground transportation to and from all LAX terminals. For prices, parking, luggage weight limits, flight duration and other info: phone (818) 994-9376 or e-mail Claudia Herrera at email@example.com or visit: www.group3aviation.com/services/charter.php
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Things to Do If You Have a Long Wait Before Departure
If you are staying at a hotel near LAX or have several hours before your flight departs, there are several things you can do in and around LAX:
- Watch airport operations on the LAX Observation Deck.
Popular with plane spotters, an observation deck on the rooftop of the iconic LAX Theme Building in the middle of the Central Terminal Area offers a 360-degree view of LAX’s airfield operations and free telescopes. Hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Free.
- Exercise and swim at an LAX-area hotel.
Several LAX-area hotels offer swimming pools, exercise gyms and showers to passengers for user’s-only fee. These hotels provide free courtesy shuttles between their hotels and airline terminals. For a list of airport-area hotels:
- Go to the beach.
Dockweiler State Beach is located at the end of Imperial Highway, a 10-minute drive west of the airline terminals. Dockweiler State Beach features a wide, three-mile-long shoreline with a picnic area, food concession stand, restrooms, showers, bike and walking paths. Hours from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily Parking fee. For more info: www.beaches.lacounty.gov
- Sun, shop, eat and play at Venice Beach and Boardwalk.
Venice Beach, a 20-minute drive north of LAX, is known around the world for its wide beach and swimming; boardwalk shopping and dining; entertainment; 16,000-square- foot skatepark (only one in the world located on a beach); outdoor Muscle Beach Gym; bike rentals; and million-dollar homes along canals. Walk to the end of the Venice Pier for great views of the shoreline, beach and surfers. For more info: www.venicebeach.com
- Golf or practice your driving or putting skills.
Westchester Golf Course is a 18-hole, par-64 public golf course located at 6900 West Manchester Avenue, a 10-minute drive east of the airline terminals. Operated by American Golf Corporation, this well-maintained golf course is night lit and open daily until 10 p.m. It has a driving range, putting greens, equipment rentals and club house. For more info:
- Visit an aviation museum.
Flight Path Learning Center and Museum is located in the LAX Imperial Terminal at 6661 West Imperial Highway, a five-minute drive from the airline terminals. The not-for-profit center has changing exhibits, lecture series, views of LAX airfield, gallery of aviation memorabilia including flight crew uniforms and airline items. Hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. No entrance fee. Free parking. For more info: www.flightpath.us
- Take a 2-hour stroll and shop in Marina del Rey.
Burton W. Chace Park is located at the end of Mindanao Way in Marina del Rey, a 15-minute drive north of LAX. This 10-acre green oasis has fantastic panoramic views of the marina. Stroll through the boutiques at Waterside Shopping Center. Fisherman’s Village has several restaurants and souvenir shops. For more info: www.visitmarinadelrey.com
reLAX Lounge is located on the mezzanine level of the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. It is a pay-to-use, public-access business lounge that offers wireless Internet, computer stations, printing, fax and photocopy (extra charge) services, and complimentary refreshments and snacks. Hourly to all-day rates. For more info: http://www.relaxloungelax.com/
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) are undertaking a $1-billion I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project that will reduce congestion, improve mobility and increase safety. The project will add a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV/carpool) lane, standardize traffic lanes, and improve on- and off-ramps along a 10-mile-long stretch of the I-405 San Diego Freeway between I-10 Santa Monica Freeway on the south and US 101 Ventura Freeway on the north. In July 2011, the demolition of the south side of the Mulholland Street Bridge overpass was undertaken, requiring the closure in both directions of I-405. Mulholland Street Bridge is one of three overpasses to be demolished and reconstructed as part of the overall project. The scheduled I-405 closure in both directions on September 29-30, will allow demolition of the other side of the bridge. For more info: www.metro.net/projects_studies/I405
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You may call the following telephone numbers for further information:
- 1-310-646-5252: LAX general information operator, staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
- 1-424-646-5260: LAX Public Relations Office, staffed from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday. This phone number will be staffed during the September 28-29 weekend.
- (213) 922-3665: Metro Project Hotline
You may send e-mail inquiries to:
- firstname.lastname@example.org: Responses will be sent daily except weekends. This e-mail box will be monitored during the September 29 - October 1 weekend.
Please let us know if you find this “Carmageddon II” webpage and its content useful. Your comments will help us improve the content. Send comments to: email@example.com
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