Mayor Eric Garcetti posted a music video Thursday to warn Angelenos about the 40-hour closure of the Hollywood (101) Freeway in the Boyle Heights area to accommodate demolition of the Sixth Street Viaduct.

Mayor Eric Garcetti in scene from slow jam video. Photo via
Garcetti issued a last-minute warning Friday for motorists to avoid the heavily traveled stretch to prevent major congestion in the downtown area. He calls it the #101SlowJam.

By 6 p.m. Friday, the video had 3,200 views.

“We showed the world what we were able to do in Carmageddon and Jamzilla,” Garcetti said, referring to past extended freeway closures that were completed without major traffic nightmares.

“We know how to deal with a freeway closure. But we can’t forget that the success of those two things happened because thousands of Angelenos planned ahead, and some even stayed away.

“This is the first time in history that downtown Los Angeles has seen a full freeway closure,” he said. “It’ll affect 2.5 miles of the 101 freeway in one of the busiest stretches of freeway not just in the city, but in America.”

Garcetti helped spread the word of the closure this week by posting a music video online, with the mayor belting out some soulful lyrics with the backing of student musicians from Roosevelt High School.

A 220-foot section of the deteriorating 84-year-old bridge over the freeway will be removed during the closure, which will stretch from the Santa Monica (10) Freeway split to the interchange of the Golden State (5), 10 and 101 freeways south of downtown Los Angeles.

Nicknamed by city officials as the 101SlowJam, the closure is scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. today and end at 2 p.m. Sunday, diverting traffic from an area that averages about 126,000 cars per day, according to Caltrans.

Closures also will affect northbound onramps at Sixth Street/Whittier Boulevard, Euclid Street and Soto Street; and the southbound onramps at Los Angeles, Commercial, Mission and Fourth streets.

Detours around the closure area are detailed here.

Garcetti vowed that the freeway would be reopened by 2 p.m. Sunday — in time for kickoff of the Super Bowl.

“So we’re asking everyone who’s traveling on freeways this weekend to plan ahead and to follow detour signs to adjacent freeways,” the mayor said. “As with any major transit event, our top priorities are to make sure you are safe (and) minimize the inconvenience as much as possible. So don’t go exploring to try to get a great shot or to see the bridge coming down. We want to make sure that you’re safe.”

Garcetti said last week the city will ensure there are “clearly marked” detours and “the highest standards of police and fire response throughout the weekend.”

Councilman Jose Huizar also urged residents in downtown Los Angeles and Boyle Heights to plan ahead for the closure.

“As we say goodbye to our old Sixth Street bridge before welcoming in our new bridge and public space, this is a necessary step to ensure the public’s safety and begin the work at hand,” he said.

The Sixth Street Viaduct will be replaced by a $449 million bridge following a nine-month-long demolition.

The viaduct itself was closed to traffic in January. Construction is expected to last until 2019.

“We wanted to save this bridge, but … we want people to be safe, and with the next earthquake, the old bridge just didn’t measure up,” Garcetti said. “So we are building a new bridge that will also be seismically fit for this city, and that progress required a lot of hard work on the part of our city engineers, our public safety officers and construction crews.”

— City News Service

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