UCLA Medical Center Prepared For “Carmageddon”

The UCLA medical center in Santa Monica and Westwood and the Department of Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles medical center say they are prepared for the shutdown of the San Diego (405) Freeway next week.

The UCLA medical center in Santa Monica and Westwood and the Department of Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles medical center say they are prepared for the shutdown of the San Diego (405) Freeway next week.

Much of the San Diego Freeway will be closed from the Ventura (101) Freeway south to the Santa Monica (10) Freeway beginning the night of July 15. The section will be shut down for about 53 hours until it reopens in the early morning on July 18. While closed, transportation officials will demolish the south side of the Mulholland Bridge in order to begin widening the San Diego Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass.

In preparation for the closing, UCLA reserved nearly 240 double occupancy rooms for staff at a university-owned hotel and a dormitory on its campus.

Meanwhile, the VA center will off overnight accommodations to employees in order to ensure the medical center is fully staffed.

About 500,000 cars pass through the closed San Diego Freeway section on a normal summer weekend. Public safety officials have been warning of traffic gridlock and urging people to stay away from the Westide while work is going on.

According to KTTV Fox 11 in Los Angeles, an official with the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center accused the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency coordinating the bridge demolition, and police officials of not doing enough to ensure that about 1,500 hospital workers will be able to get to their jobs during the weekend.

Still, the hospital believes it is ready. UCLA Health System Chief Operating Officer Shannon O'Kelley told KTTV Fox 11, “I can't imagine any other hospital in the United States being better prepared for disaster than we are. I have no concerns.” UCLA has ordered advance shipments of essential food and medicines for the duration of the closure and into next week in addition to asking people with medical emergencies to call 911 as opposed to driving themselves to emergency rooms.
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