December 6, 2019

Carmageddon Comes to LA’s 405 Freeway

The countdown has already begun for the demolition of the massive Mulholland Bridge as a phase of the project to broaden the freeway between the Westside and the San Fernando Valley.

The entire process of the demolition will be carried out in two phases and this is the first phase which is planned this month. Owing to this demolition, the freeway between 101 and 10 will remain closed from the midnight on Friday, the 15th of July to the early hours of Monday morning, the 18th of July.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 14:  A traffic signs al...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Apart from the Northbound 405, a four-mile stretch of the Southbound 405 will also remain closed for the weekend. Metro is working along with other public agencies inclusive of the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol to avoid the expected traffic jam.

This is an enormous and daunting task because the 405 Freeway is one of the country’s busiest routes. Moreover, this is the peak of the summer travel season.

The Metro has requested the general public to plan ahead or to stay at home. The transportation, public safety and tourism officials are taking active measures to send the message of the closure using all the news outlets and social media.

Metro has also sufficiently advised the motorist not to venture anywhere near the area, in all its releases. It also suggests making use of alternate freeways to avoid this area.

The Metro is planning to use Sepulveda Boulevard, which parallels the 405, as an alternate route and it will be strictly allowed only for the use of local residents. The boulevard does not have the capacity to handle both local traffic and diverted freeway traffic.

Severe traffic jams and multi-hour delays are expected. People outside the area are requested to steer clear of this area to avoid unnecessary traffic congestion and delays. There are several shortcuts through the San Fernando Valley but there are chances of these routes getting clogged too. There is the Balboa Boulevard as an alternate route and other choices are Hayvenhurst, Haskell and Woodley avenues. All these alternates can work well but still there may be few problems that one can encounter.

There are two ways to beat Carmageddon, one is to use alternate routes that steer clear of the area and the other is to stay at home watching the news. Since the demolition is carried out in two phases, another 405 freeway closure is expected in the near future.

Official sources say that the entire project’s construction is expected to be completed by 2013.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Commercial Truckers Struggle During Minnesota Government Shutdown

“The Minnesota State government shutdown on July 1, 2011 when Mark Dayton, the DFL governor and the Republican led legislature failed to agree on a budget. When the government shutdown, so did all but three of the fully equipped public rest areas along Minnesota’s highways. Commercial truckers, frequent users of the rest areas, feel particularly burdened by the closures.

According to Minnesota Trucking Association (MTA) President John Hausladen, state and federal regulations require truck drivers to rest for ten consecutive hours after being on duty for fourteen hours each day. Ordinarily, many truck drivers would stop at one of the public rest areas when they needed to take their required break. Now, truck drivers have only one good option  private rest stops. These stops, however, lack the capacity to accommodate all of the truckers driving in the state. According to Hausladen, “truck drivers who run out of hours, but can’t be accommodated at a private stop, will have to make one of two illegal choices: they can drive in excess of their allowable hours to find an acceptable parking spot, or they can park on shoulders and ramps, creating a hazard for other motorists.

In an attempt to ease the situation, Hausladen and the MTA tried to have the rest stops reopened. The petitioned Special Master Kathleen Blatz, a former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice, now in charge of determining which government tasks are essential and should continue to operate, to reopen the rest areas. She denied the petition, finding that the rest areas are “non-critical.”

Instead of the public rest areas, government officials in Minnesota suggest that truckers stop in the nearest town to use a restroom or to take a break. Truck drivers who decide to stop illegally on a ramp or on the side or the road are taking a risk. In spite of the shutdown, police and highway patrol officers are working and are still giving out tickets. Instead, many truckers choose to stop in the nearest state  Wisconsin. Truck driver Dennis Michaluk explains, I was reading about the shutdown in USA Today in West Virginia. That’s where I’m going, I thought. ‘Well, I’ve got to stop in Wisconsin. Michaluk spent $800 on fuel in the adjacent state.

But, closed rest stops aren’t the only thing that truckers in Minnesota are worried about. Licensing and credentialing services are also closed or operating in a modified manner. Truck operators find that they are losing money as a result. General Manager Sean Claton of Midwest Specialized Transportation explains that his company cannot operate because it cannot obtain licenses from the Minnesota Department of Transportation. As a result, he explains, I’ve made a multimillion-dollar investment in our business, purchasing equipment. I’ve got drivers for those trucks. I’ve got customers purchasing freight for those trucks. But I can’t put those trucks to work. He estimates that he is losing $5,000 per day because of the shutdown.

According to the MTA, some workarounds are in place, allowing truckers to continue to operate in the state. However, these procedures, when available, are patchwork in nature. For example, motor carriers are required by federal law to obtain the motor vehicle record of all of their drivers when they are hired and then annually. Since Driver and Vehicle Services (a part of the Department of Public Safety) is closed, the MTA suggests that carriers work with local police and sheriff’s offices. Since law enforcement offices are able to run these records, the MTA reports that they may be willing to help carriers obtain copies during the shutdown.

Truck drivers who need to renew their commercial driver’s licenses are still able to do so at deputy registrar’s office but will not be issued a plastic driver’s license. Instead, they will receive a yellow paper license that is valid for 45 days. If the shutdown lasts beyond 45 days, the paper licenses will continue to be valid. However, drivers who require a HazMat endorsement will not be able to obtain one.

Owners are not currently able to put new trucks into interstate service but can still obtain oversize and overweight permits through the Department of Transportation.

Information about available services is particularly difficult to find since many state offices are closed and their corresponding agency websites are not working or being updated.”

Find out more:

July 12th Time Article Discussing the Minnesota Shutdown and the Trucking Industry

Minnesota Trucking Association Information on Licensing for Truck Drivers

Trucker.com Article on the Hearing with Special Master Blatz

Minnesota State Website with Information Regarding the Shutdown (Including Agency Closures)

Distracted Driving Crackdown by DOT

“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported their campaign targeted at distracted drivers, those who use handheld cell phones and those who text while driving, is showing signs of success. It is modeled after the “”Click It or Ticket”" program that helped to successfully increase seatbelt usage once mandatory laws were passed. The campaign involved four month-long waves of educational campaigns and police crackdowns in selected cities.

Distracted Driving Crackdown by DOT

The NHTSA, a division of the Department of Transportation, conducted campaigns in Hartford, Conn. and Syracuse, NY, where usage fell at least 57% and 32%, respectively. This promising data comes as welcome news as reports of bans on handheld phones have yet to show any real reduction in accidents according to a report published last year. The effectiveness of the state bans has been called into question and states were advised by the Governors Highway Safety Association to hold off on adopting further bans until research shows them to be effective. NHSTA plans to move forward with their campaign and test it out statewide in a yet to be determined state.”

USA Today

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Minnesota DOT Construction Budget Information for 2011

“The Minnesota Department of Transportation (DOT MN) announced its 2011 construction budget will fund 258 projects to the tune of approximately $900 million dollars.

dot mn

According to the DOT MN Commissioner, Mr. Thomas Sorel, these projects were chosen based public input, the condition of involved roads and bridges, and projected improvement to traffic congestion.

The main goals of these projects are improved safety, increasing mobility, as well as community and economic development.

He also acknowledged that the budget couldn’t cover all of Minnesota’s needs and expects some local governments to be unhappy that their projected were not funded.

The 2011 budget also includes funding for the construction of a new terminal at the Duluth International Airport and on-going repairs to the St. Paul Downtown Airport.

This year’s projects are expected to provide more that 25,000 private-sector jobs.”

Find out more, visit: http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9MEBOVO2.htm