Interim Director’s Zone
Interim Director’s Zone
We’re in the middle of the wet season in Southern California, and I don’t need to tell anyone – particularly our staff working outdoors – that we’ve had an unusual amount of rain in recent weeks. Wet weather often creates additional challenges for us, especially in the aftermath of a fierce fire season, and this past month was no exception.
As they always do, our crews stepped up to the plate, doing what it takes to keep the roads open. I want to thank everyone involved in the effort – the people who keep the drainage inlets open, the pump plants operational, and the roads clear. I also appreciate the dedication of staff working in the Transportation Management Center, who ensure that motorists know what to expect when they head out for their morning commute and when they return home at night.
In addition to rain, we’ve also had some heavy snowfall on the Grapevine. I applaud the efforts of our crews who climb into snowplows in frigid weather, clearing the snow as quickly as possible and ensuring safe passage for motorists. The Grapevine is a vital north-south route in California, and our ability to keep the route open speaks volumes about our integrity and commitment to our work.
While maintenance crews have been focused on keeping our existing freeways open, we’ve also been busy planning new projects. In the event that more federal funds become available, we want to be ready. District 7 staff have been admirably innovative in proposing projects that can begin construction within as little as 90 days. We’re demonstrating that we can streamline processes that used to take much longer. This efficiency will help us succeed in getting projects underway quickly in District 7 in the coming months.
One notable project already underway is the northbound San Diego Freeway (I-405) design/build project, which recently began construction. This trailblazing project, which will construct a high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane from the Santa Monica Freeway (I-10) to the Ventura Freeway (US-101), has been particularly demanding for the staff reviewing design submittals. Many employees are working extra hours in the evening and on weekends to transform the HOV vision into a drivable reality.
Additionally, we’re continuing to move forward together with LA Metro with our congestion pricing demonstration project. This project will improve mobility and provide congestion relief on the I-10 and Harbor Freeway (I-110) corridors by converting HOV lanes to toll lanes. Congestion pricing will take advantage of excess capacity in HOV lanes and provide a funding source for future system improvements.
I appreciate the effort that has gone into these projects and all the other work in progress throughout the district. None of this would be possible without your dedication and hard work. We have much to be proud of in District 7 and much to look forward to.