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Skirting the closure to the west of Sepulveda Pass would require even longer canyon routes between U.S. 101 and the Pacific Coast Highway.

The 405’s load is increased by a major interstate interchange below the south end of Sepulveda Pass and traffic associated with the University of California at Los Angeles and Los Angeles International Airport.

At the north end of the pass, the 405 connects with a major artery between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Farther north, the 405 also connects with California’s backbone highway, Interstate 5.

The drumbeat of warnings about the weekend triggered an instant industry of businesses trying to capitalize. JetBlue offered special flights from Burbank in the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach, with seats for the short hop costing just $4 or $5.

A cycling group saw JetBlue’s offer as an opportunity for a race. The cyclists started their ride 90 minutes before the flight’s departure time to simulate the time that passengers would have to arrive at Burbank. Another member of the group took the flight and all were to meet at a Long Beach park.

Cyclist Stephan Andranian said it took the bikers one hour and 34 minutes to complete the ride from Burbank to Long Beach, largely following the Los Angeles River. Flight passenger Joe Anthony’s total travel time including cab ride from Long Beach Airport to the park was just over 2½ hours.

“We want to show that using a bike in L.A. is not only possible but that it can be faster than other modes of transportation,” Mr. Andranian said.

Some trespassers crept onto the 405.

Officials report a bicyclist made it onto the road before getting escorted off by police, a man was cited for driving on the roadway, several people were found putting up a large sign, and a man was caught scaling a perimeter fence.

Many mocked the frenzied language surrounding the closure, especially on Twitter, where Hollywood’s comedians had at their hometown.

“How’s everyone coping with this terrifying apocalyptic nightmare of having to … oh my god … stay home with your family?!!!” Bill Maher wrote.

Albert Brooks took was more philosophical in his Tweet: “If we would close the freeways every weekend we would have a great society.”