'Car-mageddon' averted as LA freeway opens early

Weekend traffic chaos that threatened Los Angeles, where a main section of freeway was shut down for repair since Friday, did not transpire despite predictions of "car-mageddon," authorities said Sunday.

For weeks, city officials were warning drivers, urging them not to take cars out over the weekend because of the shutdown of a section of the 405 freeway that connects the the highly populated San Fernando Valley to the LA basin.

Residents of Los Angeles heeded the advice beyond expectations Saturday, and the city's main roads were semi-deserted. Traffic conditions were even surprisingly pleasant for a Saturday.

US media reported the highway reopened late Sunday morning local time, hours earlier than the original reopening predicted for Monday morning.

"The people of Los Angeles have been fantastic," said a spokeswoman for California's Department of Transportation, Judy Gish, while speaking on a local news channel.

"They heard the message and they took it seriously. They've been so cooperative and that's what has made this whole operation a success," she added.

Freeway 405 was closed along a 10 mile (16 kilometer) strip to replace a bridge on the highway, used by as many as 50,000 cars a day.

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