The Inland Empire's version of "Carmageddon" begins Friday night when Caltrans shuts down sections of northbound Interstate 215 in San Bernardino as part of an ongoing $723-million freeway-widening project.
The "Big Shift," as transportation officials are calling it, is necessary to reconfigure traffic lanes during construction. The closure begins at 11 p.m. Friday and is scheduled to end at 6 a.m. Monday. It will occur in stages between 2nd Street and Highland Avenue. The southbound lanes will be open.
"The best bet is to find another way to go," said Tim Watkins, spokesman for the San Bernardino Associated Governments, the lead agency on the highway corridor improvement project, which began in 2007 and is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2013.
Watkins said that about 80,000 drivers a day passed through that section of the highway before construction began. The number might have dropped in recent years as savvy drivers have found alternative routes to avoid the construction, he said.
Anyone traveling to Las Vegas, the San Bernardino Mountains, the high desert or the Highlands area should map out a different route, Watkins said. Caltrans highway signs warning of the closure will alert drivers on freeways throughout most of Southern California.