Video: Carmageddon begins in Los Angeles

  1. Closed captioning of: Carmageddon begins in Los Angeles

    >>> drivers this morning in los angeles appear to be heeding the warnings with the massive construction project under way that many are calling carmageddon . authorities shut down a ten mile stretch of interstate 405 for 53 hours. one of the nation's busiest highways and many drivers say they are steering clear.

    >> no way, no how am i going to be hang being around here for the most horrific traffic jam in a century.

    >> okay. yeah. the 405 is so important to the people in the southland. i can't imagine what they are going through down there.

    >> i know. you know exactly what it's like, richard. take a look at the construction behind me. it's under way right now. the closure happened at midnight. they closed down the road. no cars. it looks eerie to to see no cars dotting the highway on the 405. this gets incredibly congested. construction crews are hard at work trying to hopefully make sure that the road re-opens on schedule at 5:00 on monday morning.

    >> i can hear some booming in the back ground. what are they doing?

    >> reporter: what they are doing is getting rid of half of the bridge that you to see behind me. they will have three new bridges as a carpool lane to ease congestion going through this area. go back to the old adage short term pain for long term gain.

    >> very short term pain. you know how many cars drive down there. speaking of which, how are the people reacting right now? what will they do?

    >> reporter: well, actually there has been a healthy dose of dread and anxiety leading up to this. the warnings have been up on the roadways for months. that really echos the sentiment of so many people here. as you know, driving here is such an important part of the culture in california. to tell people that they can't get in their cars and just take a drive on the road on the freeway this weekend is counter intuitive. a lot of people will stay home, hunkering down and a lot of carmageddon parties going as well. people trying to make the best out of the situation.

    >> i want to to see the pictures behind you. ask your camera man to zoom into that.

    >> reporter: i'll step out of the way so you can take a look at the construction going on. it almost looks more like a sound stage or a hollywood set because, again, we've seen so many images of the 405 freeway just jammed pack with cars. it's a lifeline in this area. 500,000 drivers go through this on a typical weekend. you know it's affected commerce in this area as you can imagine. a lot of businesses especially along this stretch of 405 are worried about the loss of money this weekend. some businesses are actually turning carmageddon into cash. we heard about that jet blue promotion taking place where for $4 you can take a flight. that flight was sold out in a matter of hours.

    >> my best to you. very interesting visually as well as audibly when we hear people complaining about how the day passes. thank you so much. we'll check back with you later.

msnbc.com
updated 7/16/2011 8:23:24 PM ET 2011-07-17T00:23:24

Faster than a jet plane — that would be the bicyclists of Wolfpack Hustle.

Six bicyclists from the group, a loose collective of L.A. cyclists, were trying to see if they could beat a passenger on a JetBlue flight from Burbank to Long Beach, and they succeeded by a wide margin,the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

The "Carmageddon" challenge was born after JetBlue offered $4 plane rides from Burbank to Long Beach to get around the weekend closure of Interstate 405 in the northern part of the metropolitan area. An online article in Slate helped the challenge take shape.

Story: 'Carmageddon' traffic in LA moving smoothly

The bicyclists and a blogger left a North Hollywood intersection at 10:50 a.m. The blogger had to drive to the airport for a 12:20 p.m. flight, then get a ride to the finish line at the Long Beach aquarium.

The cyclists took a route along the Los Angeles River, the Times reported, and made it in one hour and 34 minutes. They arrived at the finish just as the JetBlue flight was taking off — a victory for bicyclists trying to get fellow Los Angelenos to get out of the car once in a while to get some exercise on their commute.

Tom Vanderbilt, who wrote the original Slate piece, reported Saturday that bicyclists weren't the only ones to beat Flight 405. Vanderbilt said that an entrant who took only public transit also got to the finish well before the flying blogger and that a rollerskater purportedly did too.

The JetBlue fliers also tweeted that their cab driver in Long Beach got lost.

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