Inside Seven
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In August and September, three (standing room only!) public meetings were held in Norwalk and Santa Fe Springs to give an overview of the corridor plan and answer questions.   A third meeting was directed to the Santa Fe Springs Chamber of Commerce membership.

It’s a Launch for the I-5 South Corridor Projects
by  Maria Raptis
Issue Date: 11/2011

If you’ve worked at Caltrans District 7 for the past 5, 10 or 20 years, then you’ve heard about Carmenita.

Carmenita is not a co-worker or a popular opera, and she certainly must not be confused with “Carmageddon,” the nickname for a freeway closure that occurred last July on I-405 in Los Angeles and that made trans-continental news.

Carmenita is a long-awaited construction project and this summer, District 7 launched the Carmenita Road Interchange Improvement Project, one of six projects that make up the Santa Ana Freeway (Interstate 5) corridor widening and improvement projects extending from the Los Angeles/Orange County line to the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605).

The project has many components one of which will widen the Carmenita Road overcrossing in Santa Fe Springs by five times its current size, from two lanes to ten lanes – five in each direction. The project also includes 1.2 miles of freeway widening from three lanes in each direction to five lanes by adding one High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane, or carpool lane and one mainline lane. Among many improvements to ramps, bridges, frontage roads and pedestrian overcrossings, the widening will match the ten-lane freeway system at the Orange County line and ultimately help to relieve the traffic bottleneck between the two county lines.

In June, Caltrans and its transportation partners held the groundbreaking event for the Carmenita Road Interchange Project to recognize the many years of hard work of the partnerships who have fully secured funds for the entire $1.6 billion in corridor improvements.

“Corridor improvements of this magnitude require multiple partnerships,” said Caltrans Acting Director Malcolm Dougherty. “This project exemplifies the need for partnerships to collectively plan, finance, execute and monitor a corridor approach for freeway improvements.”
Caltrans’ federal and regional funding partners include the Federal Highway Administration, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro),
the I-5 Consortium Cities Joint Powers Authority, and the Gateway Cities Council of Governments. The $380 million Carmenita project is financed by federal, state and local funding, which includes $15 million from the state’s 2006 voter-approved Proposition 1B and Metro, contributed $288.7 million towards this project, 76 percent of the total cost.

In July, two public workshops were held for property owners whose parcels may be affected by the corridor’s widening. In August and September, two (standing room only!) public meetings were held in Norwalk and Santa Fe Springs to give an overview of the corridor plan and answer questions. A third meeting was directed to the Santa Fe Springs Chamber of Commerce membership.

The construction contract for the $380 million Carmenita Road Interchange Improvement Project was awarded to Flatiron of San Marcos, Ca. Preliminary construction work began with in late September with underground utility relocation.

In the coming months, the public will hear more about construction details and short-and long-term ramp closures for Carmenita Road project. Information for the other five projects, Alondra Boulevard, Rosecrans Avenue and Bloomfield Avenue Bridges, Imperial Highway and Pioneer Boulevard, Valley View Avenue Interchange and Florence Avenue Interchange, will be forthcoming.

By 2013, all six projects will be in construction. Visit Caltrans' dedicated website on everything about Interstate 5 Corridor Improvement Projects at

Caltrans held public workshops in Norwalk and Santa Fe Springs to give an overview of the I-5 South Corridor plan and answer questions from property owners, residents and business owners.   Jerrel Kam,(center) Caltrans Office Chief Design A, and a team of Design and Right of Way staff helped attendees one-on-one with design maps and diagrams of project plans. At the Carmenita groundbreaking, these guests happily did the hard work to speak and to shovel dirt to officially mark the beginning of construction.  From left:  Raymond Dunton, Gateway Cities Council of Governments and Councilmember, City of Bellflower; Perla Hernandez, representative for Grace Napolitano, Congressional District 38; Diane Bubois, Board Director, Metro and Vice Mayor of Lakewood; Don Knabe, LA County Board of Supervisors, District 4; Michael Mendez, Chair, I-5 Consortium Cities JPA and Mayor of Norwalk; Doug Failing, executive director, Metro, Highway Project Delivery; Joseph D. Serrano Sr., Mayor, City of Santa Fe Springs; and Mike Miles, Caltrans District 7 Director. A graphic of the Carmenita Interchange Improvement Project as published in the Orange County Register,Nov.6, 2011.  A Victorian Scallop Motif is planned for hardscape aesthetics along the 7-mile corridor on soundwalls, pedestrian overcrossing fences and bridges.  The motif has been used on several buildings within the corridor communities.