In preparation for the closure of Interstate 405 in West Los Angeles the weekend of Sept. 28 through Oct. 1, the Automobile Club of Southern California is advising motorists to avoid the area if possible, make alternative arrangements such as using rail transit, or be prepared for long delays if they must travel by car near the closure.
The northbound 405 will be closed for a 10-mile stretch between Interstate 10 and U.S. 101 that weekend, while the southbound side will be closed between U.S. 101 and Getty Center Drive. Contractors will begin closing I-405 freeway onramps in that area at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28, in preparation for the full freeway closure beginning at midnight. The freeway is scheduled to reopen at 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 1.
“Last summer’s weekend closure of the 405 went very smoothly because drivers got the message and stayed away from the closure area,” said Hamid Bahadori, the Auto Club’s transportation policy manager. “It’s important for people to keep in mind that there is more work being done this year, so the closure might last longer. Also, the closure’s effects could be felt on freeways throughout Southern California. Southbound travelers from the San Fernando Valley area will have to detour through downtown Los Angeles to reach the South Bay, and the detours could create traffic jams far away from the 405 Freeway.”
Among those most impacted by the closure will be Los Angeles International Airport passengers. The Auto Club is advising LAX passengers to plan ahead with these tips:
- Stay at a nearby hotel the night before departure. Many LAX area hotels have “park and fly” packages allowing you to park at the hotel for the duration of your trip. These hotels offer free shuttle service to and from the airport. Contact your local Auto Club branch or book online at AAA.com/travel.
- Choose transit, particularly rail transit, to commute to or from the airport. Metro Rail service is available to and from LAX through a shuttle bus connection. Amtrak and Metrolink rail provide train service to outlying areas of Southern California and connect to Metro Rail at several stations.
The Green Line “G” Shuttle Bus to LAX provides access between the airport and Metro Rail’s Green Line. To access the shuttle bus from LAX, go outside the baggage claim area, wait at the LAX Shuttle Bus sign (most shuttles go to airport parking), and board the “G” LAX Shuttle Bus. To access the airport from the Green Line, exit the Green Line at the Aviation/LAX station and take the elevator, escalator or stairs to street level to wait for the shuttle bus. Be sure to keep your Metro Rail ticket because that is required to board the bus. The fare is $1.50 each way.
Rail passengers can also choose to use the LAX Flyway Bus running between Union Station in downtown Los Angeles and LAX. Fares between LAX and Union Station are $7 one-way (parking costs $6 per day). Flyaway Buses also travel between LAX and Irvine, Van Nuys and Westwood. Be aware that the buses, particularly the Van Nuys and Westwood routes, could also experience significant delays depending on traffic congestion related to the 405 closure. For more information, call 866-435-9529 or visit http://lawa.org/flyaway
To board the Flyaway Bus at LAX, go outside the baggage claim area and wait under the sign marked “FlyAway, Buses and Long Distance Vans.” To board the bus at Union Station, go to Berth 9 of Patsouras Plaza (the new part of the station) and purchase a bus ticket before boarding at the nearby kiosk. Flyaway Buses to Union Station leave every half hour except between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., when they leave hourly.
For motorists who must drive on Southern California roadways that weekend, the Auto Club recommends the following tips:
- Don't expect to be able to drive quickly to any location in the Los Angeles area during the closure weekend. By adjusting your attitude to expect delays, even if you're not driving anywhere near the closure, you won't get as stressed out if you run into traffic.
- Local news radio stations are likely to be running traffic updates all weekend. Listen to them before you get in the car, or pull up real-time traffic maps on your computer before you leave, so you can know what to expect and choose the route that is best for you.
- Leave well ahead of when you would normally leave to drive somewhere if you must travel that weekend. That will alleviate the stress of thinking you will not arrive in time.
- Bring along books on tape, several favorite music CDs or if you have a car connector, your personal music player to keep relaxed as you drive. Try to select music that has a calming effect on your mood.
- If traffic is really congested and your schedule allows, particularly if traveling with children, pull off the road and take a break. Stop at a restaurant or a park so everyone can stretch their legs.
- Avoid directing anger at other drivers, even if they are discourteous or distracted. Concentrate on your own driving.
- Don't text, read or otherwise manipulate electronic devices in a way that forces your eyes off the road and could cause a crash.
- And, always, watch out for and take extra caution around higher workers. State law requires drivers to slow down or move over a lane when approaching Caltrans workers, California Highway Patrol officers, and tow truck operators working or rendering assistance to motorists on the side of the road.