Ashton Kutcher, William Shatner, and Kim Kardashian preparing Los Angeles for 'Carmageddon'

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Image Credit: Getty Images

From the evening of July 15 to the morning hours of July 17, ten crucial miles of the 405 Freeway, also known as the primary lifeline of the west side of Los Angeles, will shut down for construction. Aptly nicknamed “Carmageddon,” what should be a peaceful July weekend has already filled automobile-dependent Angelenos with major earthquake levels of anxiety.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa warned concerned citizens of the gravity of the situation, which will essentially paralyze the city. “If you think the 405 is gridlocked during the week, you haven’t seen anything yet,” he told the New York Times. “My message is to stay home. Or go on vacation. Walk. Go on a bike. But do not get in your car and go anywhere near the West Side. It’s going to be a mess.” Villaraigosa’s message is an important one, but alerting the citizens to an event of this magnitude is no task for local politicians or law enforcement. Instead, the Los Angeles Police Department has turned to the city’s most trusted source of information: celebrities. On their Twitter accounts. 

The LAPD announced on June 29 that they would be asking celebrities with large Twitter followings to spread the word, and it’s only fitting that the king of all social media, Ashton Kutcher, would be the first to respond to the urgent call to action. However, his service to the LAPD comes at a steep price. On June 30, the actor tweeted “LAPD askd me 2tweet: 405 fwy btwn 10 & 101 will b closed July 16-17. In xchange I would like a free pass on that stoplight tickt IT WAS YELLOW.” No news yet on the status of Kutcher’s ticket, but his message was heard loud and clear by his roughly 7 million followers.

William Shatner tweeted the same day, and managed to add a plug for his latest project, a self-produced documentary airing on the Epix Cable Network. “LA friends have you heard about Carmegeddon? The 405 will close on July 16 & 17. Stay at home preparing for The Captains on 7/21 on Epix.”

Kutcher’s wife Demi Moore was next, taking time out of her holiday weekend to tweet the news of impending doom to her 3.7 million followers. She even suggested a safe alternative! “Avoid frustration Twitter Peeps who live in the LA area, the 405 freeway will be closed July 16 & 17. Plan ahead. Weekend getaway perhaps?”

Bride-to-be Kim Kardashian is the latest to respond, warning her 8.2 million followers in a July 6 tweet that was short, sweet, and to the point. “Make sure you stay away from the 405 Fwy the weekend of July 16 & 17, it will be closed between the 10 Fwy and 101 Fwy North & South!”

The currently traveling Lady Gaga is yet to respond to the LAPD’s request, but let’s hope that the rest of the celebrities have done enough tweeting to save the city from certain traffic-related doom.

Comments (18 total) Add your comment
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  • Gwen

    I am sure the NYT was laughing at this situation. If the highways close in the City, there is always the subway or you can walk the island, side to side in about an hour or end to end in a few more. Maybe LA should take the hint and build up instead of out. It would be more “green” and avoid future carmegedons!

    • Helen

      New York doesn’t have earthquakes. And if you do build up, it will cost a lot more. I always wondering how much it cost to build the skyscrapers in Tokyo.

      • Annette

        Unless Gwen you want everyone in Los Angeles to die which you probably do!

      • Tim

        You guys in the SFV and Westside of LA are so completely screwed. Use Topanga, Coldwater Cyn, Laural Cyn or the Hollywood Freeway. Or better yet stay local.

      • Sam J

        Westsiders take 10 to the 110 and go north to… many destinations.

    • ikagirl

      Gee Gwen, try being in a highrise during an earthquake. And are you seriously suggesting we bulldoze over expensive homes, houses of worship and businesses, to fulfill your vision? That’s not green at all. This is a retrofit of one freeway that is sorely needed, although the complaints are being overblown. There are alternate routes.

  • Jane Freud

    Damn, I thought this was an article about a movie adaptation of the video game ‘Carmageddon’.

    • Tom

      Well at least it’s not the big one, i.e. Major Los Angeles Area Earthquake 9.0

  • Meg

    Or a really bad sequel to “Armageddon.”

    • Liver

      This

  • Mike O

    I thought Carmageddon was going to be a movie! How stupid are people that they get their traffic news from the likes of Ashton and Kim K. They deserve to be in a big traffic jam.

    • ikagirl

      Thankfully most Angelenos do not get their traffic news from celebs. This is the end result of a huge PR misfire by the LAPD. The local media has overblown what should be a routine closure. We have them all the time. And if anyone reading this does live in the West Side, it’s just one weekend. Not like the 57 mess. Or others I can think of (like after the Northridge quake).

  • Sam J

    We have the Metroline, or is it the Metrorail? The LA subway. We could take the blue line, no the green line…. I don’t know the subway system in LA.

  • westside

    What these tweets are not saying is that ramps along the 10-mile closure will begin to close at 7:00pm on FRIDAY July 15! And what the rest of the country may not understand is that the 405 is just as crowded at 7:00 pm as it is at 5:30 pm.

    • ikagirl

      @westside At least you got warnings. The rest of us usually have to depend on random signs. Anyone familiar with that parking lot called the 91?

  • T

    Oh phew!!! I never would’ve known that the 405 would be closed on the 16th and 17th if it weren’t for these do-gooding celebs! Never mind it’s in the news here everyday, there are huge signs on the freeway EVERYWHERE not to mention the signs my employer has posted up all over work. You couldn’t forget about this if you wanted to!

  • Skip182

    You could shut down the 405, demolish it, build a mountain where it used to be, cover it with ice, and post armed guards, and it would STILL be faster than the 91 parking lot.

  • Lars

    How many of their followers will this actually affect? I doubt very many live in LA.

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