In fact, the roadway reopened early. Everything was scheduled to be back to normal by 6 a.m. on Monday, but officials began allowing traffic back on the freeway shortly after noon on Sunday. (This wasn’t unexpected, but it’s still worth repeating: Major construction work finished early.)
Drivers seemingly heeded the dire predictions and stayed home, resulting in “blissfully empty” streets and freeways. People responded to the event in a variety of other ways. Some chose to bask in the crowd-free weekend. One local man decided to engage in a little planking (and his mom even took the picture for him). Multiple cyclists who made their way onto the freeway were escorted off, and two bicyclists were arrested.
Still, there was a big victory for bicyclists. Passengers who took advantage of JetBlue’s deal/promotional stunt and flew from Burbank to Long Beach got an eyeful of the empty freeway. Meanwhile, on the ground, a group of cyclists raced against the JetBlue plane — and won.
There is a concern that because the work this year didn’t result in any major traffic problems, people won’t take the warnings so seriously the next time around. Yes, next year brings Carmageddon II, when the other half of the bridge has to come down and the freeway will once again shut down. Officials are likely going to use the same playbook: hype, hype and more hype. We’ll have to wait and see if the sequel goes quite so smoothly.