Inside Seven
Current Issue: September 2014
Caltrans Division of Equipment and guests involved in the project, pose on Opening Day of the new facility in Sylmar

by  Maria Raptis
Issue Date: 02/2008

Equipment Shop 7 is Open for Business at a New Facility

Caltrans Division of Equipment (Sacramento) and District 7 have successfully completed a property exchange with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) when  Equipment Shop 7 moved from North Hollywood to its new location off the I-5 in Sylmar. An informal grand opening celebration was held on January 9 with executive staff, employees and guests who worked closely on the project. 

The North Hollywood shop was the first equipment shop in this District, dating back to its beginning 90 years ago, in 1917, when at that time wagons and bridled horses were a large part of the Caltrans equipment fleet.  Later, the shop acquired vintage World War II equipment. Now, statewide, the fleet is comprised of over 13,000 pieces of equipment and has approximately 400 professional heavy equipment mechanics to service and repair the mobile equipment.

The new, durable facility can accommodate a 20’ crane clearance, has numerous 16 x 16-foot roll-up doors and 8-foot slabs to work upon.

Several years ago, when Robert W. Sassaman was the District 7 director, the LAUSD requested the location -- 20-hectacres - in North Hollywood for its East Valley High School athletic program and gymnasium.  Caltrans worked cooperatively with the LAUSD for a smooth relocation of this vital equipment shop.  The work involved the acquisition of new Right of Way and moving the Shop 7 equipment into a new facility.

“The new facility gives Caltrans more space and the needs of both parties have been served through this functional replacement and relocation,” said Doug Failing, District 7 Director.

The Division of Equipment purchases, fabricates, services and repairs mobile equipment for Caltrans. While District 7 is one of their largest customers, the shop also provides mobile equipment and services to local public funded agencies through Interagency Agreements.

District 7 has two other shops: one in Commerce and a sub-shop at the District Office building employing mechanics and warehouse workers.

Doug Failing, District 7 Director, cuts a Grand Opening ribbon like nobody else.   High from a cherry picker is a sea of orange. Division of Equipment Shop 7 moves in to their new home off the I-5 near SR-14. Raja Mitwasi, District 7 Chief Deputy, recalls the thrill of heavy equipment operation and re-cuts the grand opening ribbon, now thoroughly, and in grand style. (lef) Randall Iwasaki, Caltrans Chief Deputy; Einar Markussen, Highway Equipment Superintendent (of Shop 7) and Lisa Kunzman, Division Chief, Division of Equipment.