DISTRICT 7 PREPARES FOR EXTENDED WEEKEND CLOSURES ON THE LONG BEACH FREEWAY (I-710)
The Long Life Pavement Rehabilitation Strategy is a Cost-Effective Approach to Replace an Aging, High-Volume Freeway
Renewing pavements on urban highways has become an important issue confronted by many transportation agencies today, as many freeways are now showing signs of wear. Much of California’s Interstate Highway System, including the Long Beach Freeway (I-710) was built in the 1950s and 1960s.
The I-710 has the unique distinction of carrying more truck traffic than any other route in California. That is why Caltrans’ Long Life Pavement Rehabilitation Strategy is vital to address the state’s need for cost effective approaches for rebuilding the aging pavements in its urban highway network. The goal is to rebuild high-volume urban freeways with pavements that are designed to last more than thirty years with minimal maintenance.
Caltrans began a $164.5-million Long Life Pavement Rehabilitation and Median Barrier project in September, 2007 to replace nine miles of the Long Beach Freeway (I-710) in both northbound and southbound directions between the San Diego Freeway (I-405) and Firestone Boulevard. This is the second phase of the I-710 Long Life Pavement Strategy. The first phase included I-710 from Pacific Coast Highway (Route 1) to I-405 and completed in 2003.
The core team who are working closely together on this project are John Vassiliades, Project Manager; James Tucker, Project Engineer; Peter Chiu, assistant Project Manager; Mario Guitierrez, Design Manager; and Nazem Moussa, Construction Resident Engineer. “The Long Life Pavement strategy is very important to the State Highway System,” said Vassiliades. “It will reduce the need for future repair projects and ultimately save public resources for future generations of highway users.”
Beginning this month on Friday, October 24, 2008, a series of up to seven extended weekend closures are scheduled for fall 2008, including two in November and three in December. Full freeway closures on I-710 from the Artesia Freeway (SR-91) to the Glenn Anderson Freeway (I-105) are scheduled on Friday, October 24 from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m; Sunday, October 26 from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m; Friday, October 31 from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. and Sunday, November 2 from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Additional full freeway closures will continue intermittently throughout 2009 and 2010. The extended weekend closures will begin with nine hours of a full freeway closure to set up moveable barriers for a freeway counterflow operation. Freeway connectors to northbound and southbound I-710 at State Route 91 and SR-105 will be closed, however, no two connectors will be closed at the same time. All freeway traffic will shift to one side of the freeway during the extended weekend closure with at least two lanes available for northbound I-710 traffic flow and three lanes for southbound traffic flow.
Moussa is working to ensure safe and effective closures during construction. “A comprehensive traffic management strategy will help to reduce the volume of traffic during the weekend closures and minimize traffic delays through the construction work zone,” he said.
The majority of the mainline roadway pavement work is taking place now to 2010. This work requires cracking the existing pavement, then rolling for reuse as a strong foundation base followed with an Asphalt Concrete (AC) overlay. Considering the high volumes of traffic along this segment of I-710, much of the construction will occur overnight during weekdays when traffic is lighter. Construction is scheduled to complete in 2011.
The concrete median barrier installation is near completion. Work continues on widening the roadway, where possible, to provide standard lanes and shoulders. Widening the Compton Creek Bridge and Atlantic Avenue bridge undercrossings is scheduled for completion in Winter, 2008. The work also includes overlaying the existing pavement with 10½ inches of Long Life Asphalt Concrete. Fiber-optic cables, closed-circuit television, three Changeable Message Signs and ramp meters will be also installed for traffic management and monitoring.
For the safety of the motoring public, traffic speeds will be reduced to 45 mph during the extended weekend closures. Oversized loads may not be permitted during the extended weekend closures due to narrower lanes. Motorists will be to use suggested alternate routes around the project and anticipate delays and detours during the extended weekend closure schedule. All closures will be subject to cancellation pending weather conditions, as the paving requires temperatures above 50 degrees and dry weather. During all extended weekend closures, the freeway will re-open at 5 a.m. for Monday morning commute traffic.
The first segment of I-710 opened to traffic in 1952; the last segment opened in 1970. Today, this heavily traveled freeway with 234,000 Average Daily Traffic, has one of the highest concentrations of deteriorated pavement in the state. It is the major route for trucks transporting goods from the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to rail yards and distribution centers in Downtown Los Angeles and the Inland Empire – and ultimely through California and into all parts of the United States. The freeway runs in a north/south with its southern terminus adjacent to the Port of Long Beach on Terminal Island at the intersection of the Terminal Island Freeway (SR-103) and State Route 47, and its northern terminus near Downtown Los Angeles in Alhambra.
The Port of Los Angeles is the nation's leading container port, responsible for more than 900,000 jobs in California and nearly 3 million jobs across the country. And trade valued annually at more than $100 billion moves through the Port of Long Beach, making it the second-busiest seaport in the United States. Freight trucks from both ports account for almost 18 percent of the total traffic on I-710.
The I-710 Long Life Pavement Rehabilitation project has a multitude of benefits to the motoring public, nearby residents and Caltrans highway workers. The project will rehabilitate aging pavement and provide a roadway with several decades of service life, improved pavement performance and provide the motoring public with a smoother ride. The Long Life Pavement strategy will result in less maintenance work in the future, thereby minimizing traffic delays, costs and impacts on surrounding communities and the environment.
Safety enhancements are also an important element of this project. They include: replacing the double metal beam barriers with concrete median barriers, increasing the median’s height in order to reduce headlight glare, drainage improvements, upgrading lighting and sign illumination systems, on-ramp and off-ramp improvements, and maintenance pull-out features.
This I-710 improvement project is proof positive that Caltrans is continuing to provide a safe, durable, economic and long-life highway system for automobiles, trucks and highway-based transit that will have a direct, positive and long-lasting effect for many years to come.