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'Carmageddon' freeway reopens early in Los Angeles

A time-lapse video shows how around the clock construction to upgrade a bridge on L.A.'s Interstate 405 averted a potential traffic nightmare. NBCNews.com's Dara Brown reports.

Updated at 9:52a.m. ET -- The closure of a 10-mile stretch of the 405 Freeway in California came and went during the weekend as demolition crews completed work on the Mulholland Bridge in time to reopen the freeway for the Monday morning commute and a high-speed pursuit.

Traffic was flowing through the Sepulveda Pass early Monday after bridge work that began Saturday as part of the freeway widening project. No major traffic problems were reported during the weekend-long freeway closure, which allowed crews to demolish the north side of the bridge.

 Ramps along the Santa Monica Freeway that connect with the 405 Freeway began to reopen by 8:45 p.m. Sunday. Northbound lanes opened later Sunday, followed by southbound lanes.

Mayor Antonio Villaragosa called the project a success and thanked Los Angeles residents for cooperating and ensuring what had been dubbed "Carmageddon" actually was "Carma-Heaven."

They survived Carmageddon, but now Los Angeles is coping with the sequel! Once again, the famous 405 freeway has been shut down, forcing Los Angeles drivers off the road. NBC News' Diana Alvear shows us how Angelenos are using this weekend to embrace car-free adventures.

For more on this story, visit NBCLosAngeles.com

California Highway Patrol officers said several people broke onto the closed freeway. Seven people were detained, including rollerbladers and skaters, the CHP said.

Hours after the freeway reopened, police began searching for the driver of a Jaguar who ran from the vehicle after a high-speed San Fernando Valley pursuit.

The pursuit suspect ran from the vehicle after parking it on the side of the 405 Freeway in Van Nuys.

Dan Kulka, a spokesman for the contractor Kiewit Infrastructure West Co., said Sunday that crews still had to clear debris and sweep the roadway before the work could be complete. Engineers had to inspect the bridge work, Kulka said.

Crews took advantage of the closure to take on seven weeks of maintenance projects such as trimming trees and re-striping lanes, work that saved taxpayers $150,000 and will lead to fewer lane closures in the future, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said.

The south side of the overpass was demolished during last summer's first "Carmageddon." No major traffic issues were reported during the July 2011 closure.

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