LOS ANGELES — Construction crews were on schedule and traffic tie-ups were minimal in Los Angeles on Saturday, making for a smooth start to Carmageddon II, the sequel to last year's shutdown of one of the nation's busiest freeways.

A 10-mile stretch of Interstate 405 was shut throughout the weekend so that crews can demolish a portion of the Mulholland Drive bridge as part of a $1 billion-project to add a new carpool lane. Officials said demolition was nearly complete and that they expect to reopen the freeway as planned for Monday morning.

For the most part, drivers steered clear from the freeway.

As temperatures climbed into the 90s, those who couldn't resist a trip to the beach said traffic was smooth.

"We've been all over the city, no traffic. We even went to Dairy Queen for an ice cream and there was nobody there," Marilyn Millen told KNBC-TV.

For weeks Angelenos have been warned to avoid the area on LA's West Side. If they don't, officials warn, a citywide traffic jam could result. But beyond just scare tactics, city officials have been encouraging Southern Californians to get out and enjoy their own neighborhoods on foot, on bikes or via short drives on surface streets.

During a similar closure last year commuters stayed away from the freeway in droves, the shutdown was considered a success, and crews finished the first phase of the work early.

This time, the contractor faces a penalty if the work isn't done in 53 hours. The fine is $6,000 per lane of freeway, for every 10 minutes over the deadline. Demolition temporarily halted Saturday afternoon when a large chunk of the bridge unexpectedly came down, but the contractor said it won't delay the project.

The closed section of the freeway carries about 250,000 motorists each day on an average weekend. California Department of Transportation officials said that in order for Carmageddon II to be a success, at least two-thirds of those drivers need to stay off the road.

Meanwhile, TV news crews appeared to make good on a promise to avoid a traffic jam in the sky as they cover the shutdown.

Residents complained of low-flying, noisy helicopters hovering nonstop over the region last year. This time, local television news directors have plans to pool coverage by using video from a single helicopter making limited flights over the freeway, according to Rick Terrell, executive director of the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California.

The participating stations include major broadcasters including KABC-TV, KCBS-TV and KTTV-TV.

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  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Construction crews demolish the north side of the Mulholland Bridge over the closed 405 freeway during Carmageddon on September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Gina Ferazzi-Pool/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: A member of the press poses for a photo on the 405 Freeway as construction crews demolish a portion of the Mulholland Drive bridge along the 405 Freeway September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Construction crews work to demolish a portion of the Mulholland Drive bridge along the 405 Freeway September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Construction officials Kasey Shula (L) and Natasha Jones pose for a photo on the 405 Freeway as construction crews demolish a portion of the Mulholland Drive bridge along the 405 Freeway September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: The 405 Freeway is nearly vacant as construction crews demolish a portion of the Mulholland Drive bridge along the 405 Freeway September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Looking through a helicopter window, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa gets an aerial view of the construction on the Mulholland Bridge over the closed 405 freeway during Carmageddon on September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Gina Ferazzi-Pool/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Looking through a helicopter window, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa with Los Angeles Police Deputy Chief Jorge Villegas checks on traffic patterns at the 10 freeway where it intersects the closed 405 freeway during Carmageddon on September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Gina Ferazzi-Pool/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: A construction worker walks on the 405 Freeway as crews demolish a portion of the Mulholland Drive bridge along the 405 Freeway September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Two California Highway Patrol officers stand in a lane of the 405 Freeway as construction crews demolish a portion of the Mulholland Drive bridge along the 405 Freeway September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: The closed 405 freeway is eerily empty during Carmageddon on September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Gina Ferazzi-Pool/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: The empty 405 freeway looking southbound runs underneath the 10 freeway during Carmageddon on September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Gina Ferazzi-Pool/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Traffic is heavy on Pacific Coast Highway near Sunset Boulevard as drivers try to find alternative ways around the 405 freeway closure during Carmageddon on September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Gina Ferazzi-Pool/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Construction crews work on the Mulholland Bridge over the closed 405 freeway during Carmageddon on September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Gina Ferazzi-Pool/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Construction crews work to demolish a portion of the Mulholland Drive bridge that spans the 405 Freeway September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Two highway patrol motorcycle officers drive on an empty 405 Freeway as construction crews demolish a portion of the Mulholland Drive bridge September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Construction crews work to demolish a portion of the Mulholland Drive bridge along the 405 Freeway September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Work was temporarily delayed when a larger than planned piece in this section of the Mulholland Drive bridge fell around 4 pm Saturday during demolition work on the bridge spanning the 405 Freeway September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: A group of people monitor construction crews demolishing a portion of the Mulholland Drive bridge along the 405 Freeway September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: LAPD officer Sara Faden walks along a shoulder of the 405 Freeway September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Construction crews work to demolish a portion of the Mulholland Drive bridge along the 405 Freeway September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Construction crews work to demolish a portion of the Mulholland Drive bridge along the 405 Freeway September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: The 405 Freeway is nearly vacant as construction crews demolish a portion of the Mulholland Drive bridge along the 405 Freeway September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Los Angeles Police officers converse where construction crews are demolishing a portion of the Mulholland Drive bridge that spans the 405 Freeway September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: A worker services a piece of heavy machinary in vacant lanes of the 405 Freeway September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition of the Mulholland Drive bridge that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images)

  • Carmageddon Returns To Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: A construction worker walks on vacant lanes of the 405 Freeway September 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 405 Freeway is completely shut down for a 10 mile stretch this weekend for the demolition of the Mulholland Drive bridge that is part of a larger $1-billion freeway improvement project. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images)

  • Workers continue the demolition of the center span of the Mulholland Drive bridge along Interstate 405 in Los Angeles on Saturday Sept. 29,2012. Construction crews are on schedule and traffic tie-ups are minimal in Los Angeles, making for a smooth start to Carmageddon II, the sequel to last year's shutdown of one of the nation's busiest freeways. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

  • California Highway Patrol cars patrol a closed 405 freeway overlooking the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles as workers continue the demolition of the Mulholland Drive bridge on Saturday Sept. 29,2012. Construction crews are on schedule and traffic tie-ups are minimal in Los Angeles, making for a smooth start to Carmageddon II, the sequel to last year's shutdown of one of the nation's busiest freeways. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

  • Workers continue the demolition of the center span of the Mulholland Drive bridge along a closed Interstate 405 in Los Angeles on Saturday Sept. 29,2012. Construction crews are on schedule and traffic tie-ups are minimal in Los Angeles, making for a smooth start to Carmageddon II, the sequel to last year's shutdown of one of the nation's busiest freeways. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

  • A closed stretch of the 405 freeway extends into the San Franando Valley section of Los Angeles as workers continue the demolition of the Mulholland Drive bridge, not seen in photo, on Saturday Sept. 29,2012. Construction crews are on schedule and traffic tie-ups are minimal in Los Angeles, making for a smooth start to Carmageddon II, the sequel to last year's shutdown of one of the nation's busiest freeways. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)