District 7 Breaks Ground On San Fernando Valley I-5 HOV Improvement Project
Public officials, Caltrans staff, and the media braved triple-digit temperatures to mark the start of construction on an important HOV project on I-5 in the San Fernando Valley.
[Click photos to read captions.]
Anyone who drives the Golden State Freeway (I-5) in the San Fernando Valley regularly knows that this stretch of I-5 can get seriously congested, carrying in excess of 300,000 vehicles a day. Caltrans is working to change that. On September 27, District 7 held a groundbreaking ceremony for the San Fernando Valley I-5 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Improvement Project at the Ritchie Valens Recreation Center in Pacoima.
The project will build an HOV lane in each direction along I-5 between the Hollywood Freeway (SR-170) and the Ronald Reagan Freeway (SR-118), a distance of 6.8 lane miles (3.4 miles in each direction). It will also widen four undercrossings, repair pavement, and reconfigure the connector to build a direct HOV connector between I-5 and SR-170. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is Caltrans’ partner agency on the project.
With I-5 traffic rumbling in the background, District 7 Deputy Director of Construction and Master of Ceremonies Roy Fisher spoke about the benefits of the project. “In addition to alleviationg congestion and encouraging carpooling, this project will improve air quality and provide a smoother ride for motorists,” he said.
It will also recapture time motorists lose to sitting in traffic.
“They can have that time back to spend with themselves, with their families, with their kids, doing whatever they want to do," said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Zev Yaroslavsky. "This is a huge quality of life issue."
Also speaking at the event were Metro CEO Art Leahy, Senator Alex Padilla (20th District), Assembly Member Felipe Fuentes (39th District), and California Highway Patrol Altadena Area Commander Bill Dance.
The $140.2 million project, which is funded in part ($31.2 million) by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is scheduled to wrap up in summer 2015. The contractor is Flatiron West of San Marcos, Calif.
This project is the first of several on I-5 in the San Fernando Valley that will begin construction over the next two years. When all the work is complete, motorists will be able to take the HOV lane all the way from the Ventura Freeway (SR-134) to Palmdale.
For more information about this project and others coming up on I-5, click here.