"Carmageddon II" Nears

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Friday, September 28, 2012 - 4:02pm

Los Angeles prepares for massive freeway shutdown.

"You won't fool me again."

That's the sentiment in Los Angeles as the phenomenon called "Carmageddon" gets underway for a second time.

The massive freeway closure last year prompted fears of doomsday proportions, but this year it's prompting apathy at best, and that's exactly what has officials there worried.

The partial three-day closure of the 405 Freeway, the country's busiest highway, prompted panic about catastrophic gridlock and mayhem last year when it happened for the first time, but because everyone stayed home - nothing happened.

This year's weekend-long closure is a continuation of a $1-billion effort to widen the 405 Freeway.

It'll shut down the busiest portion, from Santa Monica to the San Fernando Valley, so crews can demolish a bridge.

If it's like last year, no problem.

But if people don't treat it seriously this time, officials warn it could cause a traffic backup that lasts 100 miles in either direction.

"If everyone heeds our advice, we should get up on Monday morning and this whole weekend will be in our rear view mirror," predicts Los Angeles County Fire Department Assistant Chief Charlie Butler.

Perhaps the most surprising outcome of Carmageddon is that many Angelenos now look forward to it, seeing it as an excuse to stay put and explore their own communities.

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