Carmageddon Ends With Whimper

It was more like 'carmaheaven,' declares triumphant mayor
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2011 6:34 AM CDT
'Carmageddon' Ends Early in Los Angeles
Street sweepers apply the finishing touches as the demolition of two lanes of the Mulholland Drive bridge over Interstate 405 is completed before noon in Los Angeles Sunday, July 17, 2011.   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

(Newser) – After a whole lot of hype and a less-than-exciting start, "Carmageddon" is over—and the whole thing was rather anticlimactic. The 10-mile stretch of California's 405 Freeway re-opened yesterday around noon, a full 17 hours early, the AP reports. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa declared the whole thing more of a "Carmaheaven," and thanked residents for sticking close to home. More from the not-quite-apocalyptic weekend:

  • Contractors got a bonus for the early finish, to the tune of $300,000, the Los Angeles Times reports.
  • Traffic was light for almost the first five hours after the freeway re-opened; alas, that came to an end at 4:59pm when a lane had to be closed after a collision.

  • No major incidents were reported, although eight bicyclists were arrested for riding on the empty freeway.
  • Don't get too excited: This is all happening again in 11 months, when the other half of the Mulholland Bridge comes down—and some are nervous that after how smoothly things went this time around, residents won't heed similar warnings next time.
  • The Times also rounds up some of the best tweets on the re-opening. Our favorite, from @pagetpaget: "So in the end, it wasn't Carmageddon. More like Cardashian. A whole lotta hype but nothing real happened..."
  • You knew someone would pull a "planking" stunt on the shut-down freeway. It was Stephen Estes, a 23-year-old USC grad, and the Times has both an interview and Estes' newly famous picture.
(Read more Carmageddon stories.)

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