Traffic moves slowly on the 405 freeway under the Mulholland Bridge in Los Angeles, California July 14, 2011. "Carmageddon" is the name Los Angeles residents are giving the likely epic traffic tie-up that could result when a 10-mile (16-km) stretch of the 405 Freeway is closed for construction, including the demolition of the bridge, from Friday night to Monday morning between two of the nation's busiest interchanges. Reuters

Los Angeles motorists are bracing for the Friday night start of 'Carmageddon' -- arguably the biggest traffic event -- and potential traffic nightmare of the young century. Carmageddon starts Friday at 7 p.m. PDT and continues to Monday a t 6 a.m. PDT.

And the advice from public officials is succinct and common sense-oriented: Stick close to home, if you can. That means shopping and entertaining close to home.

And, by extension, that means this would not be a good weekend, if you live in Torrance, for example, to visit your cousin in Van Nuys.

Allow me to be blunt: It's going to be a mess out there, Los Angeles Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky posted on his City Hall website, reported Friday. For those of you who think you can outsmart this potential mother of all traffic jams, he added, my advice is simple: save your gas.

New York-based comedian, the late, wonderful Alan King, had perhaps the best one-liner about modern car traffic and commutes in these United States.

King: 'Why do they call it rush hour in New York...when nothing moves?'

A 10-mile stretch of Interstate 405 Freeway, known locally as 'the 405,' will be closed for construction from Friday night to Monday morning between two of the nation's busiest interchanges, Reuters reported. The affected stretch runs from the Santa Monica Freeway, to Highway 101, to the Ventura Freeway.

The unprecedented 53-hour shutdown will allow crews to demolish a bridge as part of a $1 billion freeway-widening project.

Carmageddon is expected to delay motorists for hours on alternate routes, with ripple effects on about a dozen other major highways. The project

This is not a normal highway/road closure: to give one an idea of the magnitude of the traffic impact, Los Angeles plans to open its emergency operations center over the weekend.

On a typical day the 10-mile-long Carmageddon construction handles about 500,000 vehicles - substantially more than another high traffic point in the U.S.: New York's George Washington Bridge which handles about 289,000 vehicle on a typical day.

The L.A. Metro system is offering free subway rides from the Hollywood Hills during the 405 shutdown. JetBlue Airways Corp. announced a Fly Over the 405 deal with a $4 one-way flight from Burbank to Long Beach, 40 miles away.

Transportation Analysis: Metro Los Angeles has spent a considerable time perod perparing for 'Carmageddon,' but the question remains -- will area residents heed public officials' advice or will this be a traffic jam for the record books?