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Marking the official grand opening of eastbound SR-118 Widening Project are from left 
Raja Mitwasi, Chief Deputy Director, Caltrans District 7; Keith Millhouse, City Councilmember, Moorpark; Will Kempton, Caltrans Director; Janice Parvin, Mayor of Moorpark; Paul Miller, Mayor of Simi Valley; and Steven Sjoka, City Councilmember, Simi Valley.

State Route 118 Offers a Wider Way to Travel
by  Maria Raptis
Issue Date: 05/2009

Caltrans and its Partners Host a Completion Ceremony for Eastbound State Route 118 Widening Project and Celebrate Delivery of One New Lane, Four Soundwalls and Widened Bridges to Ventura County

 Caltrans District 7 held an opening ceremony last month in Simi Valley to announce that widening the eastbound Ronald Reagan Freeway (SR-118) from Tapo Street to Kuehner Drive in Simi Valley and parts of Moorpark has completed.

The project widened approximately 2.7 miles of eastbound SR-118 from three to four lanes, widened four bridges at Kuehner Drive, Stearns Street, Kadota Street and Tapo Street, enhanced freeway lighting and constructed four separate soundwalls totaling a distance of nearly 3.7 miles. Eleven miles of fiber-optic cables were installed underneath the pavement, from Tapo Canyon Road to the Los Angeles County line, to provide real-time traffic data to the Caltrans Transportation Management Center for dissemination to the public, the media and the Internet.

Caltrans Director Will Kempton joined the morning celebration on Tuesday, April 21 at a spacious right of way alongside eastbound SR-118 overlooking the freeway at Rocky Peak Road in Simi Valley. The unusually warm spring weather had some guests looking for shade cast by tents and parked heavy-duty construction cranes on the site for an on-going $9.1 million project to construct one eastbound off-ramp and one westbound on-ramp at Rocky Peak Road.

In his address, Kempton said, “The work that Caltrans does touches people's lives every day. This is an important project as evidenced by so many citizens and representatives of city, county and state government present today. This project is important because Caltrans and its Ventura County partners have jointly produced many successful highway projects that are ensuring that this county remains an attractive place to live, work, play and conduct business.”

Kempton also recognized the Caltrans staff involved in this project: Steve Novotny, Area Manager; Joseph S. Tehrani, Construction Senior; Mohammad Toutounchian, Resident Engineer; and Reza Fateh, Project Manager. The contractor for Phase 1 was C.A. Rasmussen of Simi Valley.

Darren Kettle, Executive Director of the Ventura County Transportation Commission, and Caltrans’ transportation partner in this project said, “This project does something for all of us. Many of the improvements included in this project will provide better access for nearby residents, businesses, recreation and essential services. These are benefits that you, your families and friends can enjoy.”

Captain Cliff Williams, of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Moorpark area office, told the crowd that the CHP has noticed that the addition of one new lane has improved congestion during commute hours, but has also increased motorists’ speeds, forcing CHP to cite approximately 23 motorists with speeding violations that morning. Williams reminded the public to drive safely and obey the speed limits, especially during freeway construction activity.

Other elected officials present were Ventura County Supervisor Peter Foy; Simi Valley Mayor Paul Miller; Moorpark Mayor Janice Parvin; and Simi Valley City Councilmember Steven Sjoka. Representatives from the region’s federal and state elected officials were present from the offices of Congressman Elton Gallegly, Senator George Runner, Senator Tony Strickland, Assemblymember Cameron Smyth and Assemblymember Audra Strickland.

Construction costs for this state-funded $46.5-million project were approved by the California Transportation Commission (CTC) and distributed through the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC).

In a separate project, the second phase of the SR-118 Widening Project will add one mixed flow lane westbound from the Los Angeles county line to Tapo Canyon Road. On eastbound SR-118, one mixed flow lane will be added from Tapo Canyon Road to Tapo Street and from Kuehner Road to the Los Angeles County line. Construction is estimated to cost $25 million and to begin late summer 2009 pending CTC approval and State Transportation Improvement Fund (STIP) availability. Phase 2 is scheduled to complete winter 2010.

Caltrans Director Will Kempton joined the opening celebration at the Rocky Peak ramp in Simi Valley on a hot, spring morning.  He reminded the crowd of Caltrans commitment to Ventura County as shown by many successful highway projects that have been jointly produced by Caltrans and its Ventura County partners. Eastbound SR-118 Widening Construction Team from the Thousand Oaks Office. 
From left to right: Saeed Samiei; Joseph S. Tehrani, Construction Senior; Steve Novotny, Project Management Area Manager; Reza Fateh, Project Manager; Ali Semnani, Roy Fisher, District Deputy Director, Construction; Mansour Semnani, Mohammad Toutounchian, Resident Engineer; Fady Al-Awar, Dick Paul, Ni Paul, Bill Fountain, and Hector Arroyo. Also part of the Construction team is Dan Asmus (not pictured). 
Darren Kettle, (standing), executive director of the Ventura County Transportation Commission, who served as master of ceremonies, lightheartedly passes the hat to Caltrans Director Will Kempton (seated) symbolizing the need to begin gathering the necessary funds for Phase II westbound SR-118 Widening.  Funding for this next project is pending approval by the California Transportation Commission and State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) funds generated by California State Treasury bond sales.   The unusually warm spring weather has guests seated in the shade on a vast open right of way on eastbound SR-118 at Rocky Peak Road. California Highway Patrol Captain Cliff Williams, Moorpark Area Office, (not shown) delivered a message of highway safety.