June 26, 2014
LAWT News Service
Plan ahead, allow extra travel time, or steer clear of airport-area traffic the weekend of July 25-28. These are the messages that the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), and Caltrans are advising the public in advance of a major bridge demolition that will result in 57-hour street closure of a portion of Century Boulevard, a major artery leading into Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), that weekend.
“We’re advising motorists to steer clear of the construction zone and avoid getting caught in traffic during the 57-hour closure,” said Metro Board Chair Diane DuBois. “We’re also encouraging the public to visit Metro’s web site at metro.net/crenshaw for the latest updates including recommended detours.” DuBois noted that the demolition work is necessary at this time for Metro to stay on schedule for the new light rail line that will connect the Metro Green and Expo lines in 2019.
“World class cities have world class airports, and world class cities have world class transit. And we all know Los Angeles is the greatest city on earth,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “So we are going to take down this bridge and we’re planning ahead to make sure that disruption is minimized just like we did with the Carmageddon that never materialized.”
For the effort, dubbed the “Century Crunch,” Walsh Shea Corridor Constructors, a contractor working for Metro’s Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project, will demolish a defunct railroad bridge at the intersection of Century and Aviation boulevards from 9 p.m. Friday, July 25 until 6 a.m. Monday, July 28. The work is necessary to clear the site for a new light rail train station. Demolition will close a portion of Century Boulevard at the Century/Aviation intersection. The street is a major artery leading into LAX during one of the busiest travel times of the year.
The “Century Crunch” will also reduce lane capacity on Aviation Boulevard by half. All southbound bound traffic lanes will be closed in the area, while Aviation’s northbound lanes will remain open.
“Angelinos, we’ve been through this before, and we’re asking for your patience as we tear down an old bridge to make way for a state-of-the-art light rail system,” said Los Angeles Supervisor and Metro Board Member Mark Ridley-Thomas. “So we’re asking you to reroute your drive for two days at the end of July. In return we’re going to build you a system that ultimately will connect our urban center to LAX and the South Bay.”
Motorists are advised to monitor real-time traffic conditions prior to beginning their trips and to follow recommended detour routes.
The detour area is approximately 1-mile between La Cienega and Airport boulevards.
Westbound: For westbound traffic on Century Boulevard heading to LAX, motorists can head northbound on La Cienega Boulevard, turn left (west) onto Manchester Boulevard, turn left (south) on Airport or Sepulveda boulevard, and then turn right (west) on Century Boulevard to enter the airport.
Eastbound: Leaving LAX on Century Boulevard, motorists should turn left (north) onto Airport Boulevard and proceed to Manchester Boulevard.
Motorists can then turn right on Manchester Boulevard to proceed eastbound to La Cienega Boulevard or turn right (west) to proceed southbound to Century Boulevard.
“While there is no way to predict with certainty how much extra time passengers will need to be on time for flights, the Century Crunch will significantly impact traffic in and around the airport,” LAWA Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey said. “This year's summer travel season is expected to break records for the number of passengers using the airport, so whether flying out, picking someone up, or if you work at LAX, plan ahead and expect to take longer to get there.”
Travelers to and from LAX are not the only ones impacted.
Employees of local businesses and hotel guests also will be affected. Metro and its contractor are conducting extensive community outreach in an effort to mitigate the closure’s impacts.
As part of the traffic management plan, freeway message signs on the I-405 and I-105 freeways will advise motorists of street closures.
“Like the major I-405 closures before it, the closure of Century Boulevard will require cooperation among transportation agencies and with the public,” said Caltrans District 7 Director Carrie Bowen. “Los Angeles has a great track record of handling these traffic impacts like champs, and we are confident we can all work together to keep freeway traffic running smoothly.”
On local streets, LADOT will monitor real-time traffic conditions in efforts to help keep traffic moving as quickly as possible. LAPD traffic officers will also be stationed at key intersections during the effort.
“This intersection averages over 92,800 motorists daily, which underscores the importance of managing the traffic at this location,” said Jon Kirk Mukri, general manager, City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation.
“The Department of Transportation is committed to working with Metro by monitoring the traffic flow and making the necessary real-time adjustments to the traffic signal timing and by providing traffic and intersection control as it is needed, to help manage the impeding traffic congestion along this project route.”
Airport travelers are encouraged to use public transportation to access the airport, including the Metro Green Line. Passengers traveling to the airport should exit at the Aviation/LAX Station, and then catch the free 'G' Shuttle bus from Bays 6 and 7. The 'G' shuttle, operated by the airport, serves all passenger terminals. Metro Line 120 (Imperial Highway) also serves the Aviation/LAX Station. Metro Bus lines serving the airport include Lines 102, 111, 117, and 232. These lines all terminate at the LAX City Bus Center on 96th Street just east of Sepulveda Boulevard. Municipal providers with service to LAX on the weekend include Beach Cities Transit Line 109, Santa Monica Big Blue Bus Line 3, Culver City Line 6, and Torrance Transit Line 8. All four lines serve the LAX City Bus Center. Flyaway buses provide a one-seat ride to the LAX passenger terminals. Flyaway provides service on four routes connecting LAX to LA Union Station, Van Nuys, Westwood, and the Expo/La Brea Metro Rail station. To plan your trip on public transportation, visit metro.net and use the trip planner.
Traffic will not return to normal after the bridge demolition is completed. For the next 16 months, one lane in each direction on Century Boulevard will be removed as the contractor builds infrastructure for a new elevated light rail station at Aviation and Century. This will leave three traffic lanes in each direction. The public is advised to continue to allow extra time when traveling through this area.
For more information on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project, the Century bridge demolition, related street closures and recommended detours go to metro.net/Crenshaw. Join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CrenshawRail and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/crenshawrail.