Major 405 Freeway Closure Affects LAX Weekend Flights

Major 405 Freeway Closure Affects LAX

Q: Hey, Rick; what’s this I hear about a freeway shutdown in Los Angeles this weekend that might affect flights to LAX?

A. What you heard is true; a 10 mile stretch of the 405 Freeway (a major artery for many travelers heading to or from Los Angeles International (LAX)) will be shut down this weekend due to construction work.

Local officials are calling it “Carmageddon” and it could be a real mess; this is a stretch of road that frequently sees gridlock whether it is rush hour or not. The LAPD, meanwhile, has enlisted celebrities (Ashton Kutcher, William Shatner, Kim Kardashian, etc.) to tweet about this and remind drivers to stay away.

JetBlue had some fun with this, offering “Fly Over Carmageddon” flights from Burbank to Long Beach for just $4 each-way which quickly sold out, even though few Southern Californians would normally bother to fly such a distance (less than 40 miles by car).

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For those of you who like numbers, an estimated 170,000 passenger per day fly in and out of LAX, and there are another 20,000 people who work there. As for the freeway, it’s estimated that during a typical July weekend, the 405 sees 500,000 motorists.

405 Freeway Shutdown Affects LAX Airport

  • Where: 10 miles of the 405 will be closed between the 101 and 10 freeways (roughly between Sherman Oaks in the San Fernando Valley and the Santa Monica area).
  • When: Ramps on the 405 begin closing at 7pm Friday July 15; the 405 will reopen 6am Monday, July 18.

What you should do:

1. Plan ahead: If you must fly that weekend, and would normally travel on the affected stretch of the freeway, look for alternate routes or mass transit, and the Los Angeles Times has a list of options. Some other tips:

2. Alternate airports: If you can change your ticket without a big “change fee” and without incurring a huge difference in price (not easy, I’ll admit), try flying from Burbank, Ontario, Long Beach or Orange County, depending on where you are situated.

3. Start early: If you must fly, double, triple or even quadruple the time you would normally set aside to get to the airport, and plot an alternative route ahead of time. Better yet, stay at an airport hotel the night before.

4. Don’t fly: If you do not have to fly, don’t. Not this particular weekend. Perhaps you could try a local getaway; numerous hotels like the Island in Newport Beach are offering special “gridlock escape” packages.


Published: July 12, 2011