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On March 3, District 7 broke ground on an HOV project on I-5 between SR-170 and Buena Vista Street in Burbank.

I-5 Makeover Continues – District 7 Breaks Ground on MORE Carpool Lanes
by  Kelly Markham
Issue Date: 04/2011

The event marks the start of construction on carpool lanes from the Hollywood Freeway (SR-170) to Buena Vista Street.

[Click on photos to enlarge and read captions.]

The Golden State Freeway (I-5) in the San Fernando Valley is currently undergoing an extreme makeover. From the Ventura Freeway (SR-134) to the Antelope Valley Freeway (SR-14), crews are building high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, erecting soundwalls, repairing pavement, realigning ramps, and constructing direct HOV connectors. The most recent addition to this massive effort is the construction of HOV lanes from SR-170 to Buena Vista Street in Burbank. District 7 broke ground on the project on March 3 at an event held at the Armenian Apostolic Church, with traffic on northbound I-5 serving as the backdrop.

“Investing in I-5 will benefit all Californians,” said District 7 Director and Master of Ceremonies Mike Miles. “I-5 is one of the state’s most important freeways. It provides a critical north-south link that runs from Mexico to Canada, helps power the economic engine of the state, and transports the things we all use every day.”

The $69.2 million project will build nearly nine miles (4.4 miles in each direction) of HOV lanes, construct soundwalls, repair damaged pavement and realign and the Hollywood Way on- and off-ramps. If you’ve ever driven this stretch of I-5, you know how congested it can get – particularly during peak traffic hours. I-5 is one of the most heavily traveled freeways in the state. The section between SR-170 and Buena Vista Street has an average daily traffic volume of nearly 200,000 vehicles. The new HOV lanes will play a key role in helping to keep all those vehicles moving.

“This project will encourage commuters to carpool and use transit, which will help reduce traffic congestion, gasoline consumption, and improve the air quality in the San Fernando Valley," said Caltrans Director Cindy McKim. “The improvements we’re implementing will benefit residents, commuters, and commercial vehicles by improving mobility.”

Indeed, HOV lanes are one of the best tools available to improve mobility on congested freeways. “HOV lanes typically carry two to three times more people at peak traffic hours than regular lanes and save motorists about a minute per mile,” said Miles. “District 7 currently has 514 miles of HOV lanes in Los Angeles, about 36 percent of all such lanes in the state.”

Another HOV lane benefit is the segregation of passenger vehicles from truck traffic – a feature underscored by Ara Najarian, mayor of the City of Glendale and a member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro).

“We want to make our freeways safer by separating HOV vehicles in their dedicated lane, which will whisk them from Santa Clarita through Burbank, skirting the city of Glendale,” Najarian said. “[The project] is going to make a better quality of life for everyone.”

Other groundbreaking speakers included Los Angeles County Supervisor (District 3) Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles County Supervisor (District 5) Michael Antonovich, Los Angeles City Councilmember (District 2) Paul Krekorian, City of Burbank Vice Mayor Jess Talamantes, and California Highway Patrol Altadena Area Commander Bill Dance.

The project is scheduled to wrap up by fall 2014. In the meantime, I-5 in the San Fernando Valley will remain a hotbed of construction activity as the makeover continues. Next up: more HOV lanes from SR-134 to Magnolia Boulevard. Stay tuned!

Missed the groundbreaking? See the video!

District 7 Director Mike Miles served as master of ceremonies for the event. Caltrans Director Cindy McKim spoke about the importance of HOV lanes in improving mobility. District 7 Director Mike Miles is interviewed by a Time Warner Cable reporter. City of Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian, who is also a member of the Metro Board of Directors, spoke on behalf of District 7's partner agency.