Once again, I am happy to report that District 7 is busy. In many parts of our district, Caltrans is working with our local transportation partners to improve Los Angeles and Ventura County's infrastructure, bringing improvements which are desperately needed.
Some of you may remember when Caltrans first starting using office computers (green screen terminals, 286s, and 386s); the experience may have been new and exciting or strange and scary. To carry the technology torch into the future, District 7 Public Affairs and Media Relations has initiated a blog, The Caltrans Connector. This may be something you thought was only for techies and your children, but it is more than that; it is a great way to reach out to public and our colleagues. Please visit the site and let our bloggers know about your ideas.
The Golden State Freeway (I-5) right now is a hotbed for major improvements in north Los Angeles County (from the Kern County line to SR-134) and south Los Angeles County (from the Orange/Los Angeles County line to I-605), nearly $3.5 billion worth. I-5 which was originally built in the 1950s will receive major improvements such as wider interchanges, more lanes, HOV connectors, HOV lanes and soundwalls and much more. This project is long overdue, but I am glad that Caltrans will be at the heart of this project leading the way.
Obviously, many of you have heard news stories about the nation’s failing infrastructure. Unfortunately, some of the stories may exaggerate the truth a little, but many of our bridges are in need of upgrades. Caltrans is currently working on a project to “retire” and replace the 65 year-old Schuyler Heim Bridge, which was opened when President Truman was still in office. The replacement will have higher seismic standards but will also lead to improved roadway connections.
As with all of our projects, once they are finished they must be maintained. The Division of Maintenance has initiated a program in the East Region to repair damaged slabs and cross-train crew members. This is the kind of innovative thinking that has kept Caltrans on the forefront of the transportation industry.
Caltrans has a history of giving back to the communities we serve. In the coming months we can show our commitment. We will soon begin our annual food and toy drive so let’s do all we can to fight against hunger and poverty this holiday season.