LAX travelers warned of traffic during labor demonstration

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(KTLA) -- A planned labor demonstration at Los Angeles International Airport on one of its busiest travel days is expected to contribute to traffic congestion in the area on Tuesday.

FOX40 sister station KTLA reports LAX officials were warning passengers heading to the airport between 2 and 8 p.m. to give themselves extra time to reach the Central Terminal Area, according to a news release from Los Angeles World Airports.

The protest forced the closure of westbound Century Boulevard at Vicksburg Avenue, near the LAX entrance, meaning traffic headed west would have to enter the airport, officials said.

Earlier, the airport had said at least one lane of Century Boulevard would also be closed between Airport and Sepulveda boulevards.

The demonstration is being put on by Unite Here and seeks higher wages and benefits for airline catering workers.

Motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes like Sepulveda Boulevard to reach LAX in the afternoon and evening hours.

The demonstration is not expected to impact flight operations, officials emphasized. However, some terminals may be impacted when marchers head from Terminal 4 to the Central Terminal Area beginning around 3 p.m., the release stated.

The rally was slated to begin at 5 p.m.

The Los Angeles Airport Police Division, the Los Angeles Police Department and the L.A. Department of Transformation maintain airport access during the event, and additional traffic officers will be on hand to assist.

Traffic is expected to return to normal around 8 p.m.

LAX anticipates Tuesday will be among the busiest travel days of the Thanksgiving holiday period, with an estimated 232,000 passengers going through the airport. About 110,000 vehicles are expected to go through LAX.

Maria Hernandez with Unite Here defended the group's decision to hold a demonstration on one of the airport's busiest travel days of the year.

"We thought … it’s a good opportunity to get our message across to as many passengers as possible," she told KTLA. "We're going to want to talk to them."

Demonstrations are also taking place in 17 other cities across the U.S., including New York, Miami and Washington, D.C., Hernandez said.

Even before the afternoon activity, the airport had already advised passengers to allot extra time to reach the airport, go through security and get to their gate.

And traffic was already heavy at LAX on Tuesday morning after the discovery of a suspicious item prompted officials to shut down a stretch of Century Boulevard.

Vehicles on the upper level moving were moving at a crawl as of 9 a.m., video from the scene showed.

Century was reopened a short time later after the item was cleared by an airport police bomb squad.

The latest updates on traffic conditions in and around LAX can be found on Twitter at @FlyLAXAirport and @FlyLAXStats.

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