Keep On Truckinâ€™: Truck Lanes Project Begins on I-5
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If you’ve ever driven the Golden State Freeway (I-5) in north Los Angeles County, you’ve probably notice two things about it. One, a LOT of trucks use this freeway. It is, after all, the backbone of the state’s freeway system, moving goods from Mexico to Oregon. Many of the items you use every day — from your morning coffee to the mattress you sleep on at night — were transported on a truck that traveled I-5.
The second thing you’ll notice about I-5 is that it can get very congested, especially during peak travel times. That explains the multiple carpool lane projects currently in the works on I-5 north of the Ventura Freeway (SR-134). It also explains the I-5 truck lanes project, which District 7 launched on May 3 with a groundbreaking event held at the North Region Survey Field Office in Stevenson Ranch.
The project is adding a truck lane to I-5 in both directions by paving the median area and outside shoulder, and shifting the mixed-flow lanes inward. Both the northbound and southbound truck lanes will connect with the existing truck lanes near SR-14. The southbound truck lane will extend from Pico Canyon Road/Lyons Avenue to State Route 14 (3.7 miles), while the northbound lane will run from SR-14 to Gavin Canyon (1.4 miles).
Why do we need truck lanes on this segment of I-5? Part of the answer is volume. About 19,000 trucks use this stretch of freeway each day, along with roughly 200,000 other vehicles. Separating truck traffic from passenger vehicles enhances safety.
Designated truck lanes also make for a more pleasant commute for motorists in passenger cars, who tend to dislike being surrounded by 40-ton 18-wheelers. And to be fair, some truck drivers would prefer not to travel next to passenger vehicles, which tend to be more unpredictable than other trucks.
Additionally, this segment of I-5 has steep grades, which means cars and trucks are traveling at different speeds. That speed differential can lead to a higher accident rate. However, there’s no steep grade north of Gavin Canyon in the northbound direction, which is why the northbound lane will be shorter than the southbound lane.
Describing the benefits of the project at the groundbreaking, District 7 Director Mike Miles said, “This important project will reduce congestion, increase mobility, enhance air quality, and improve the efficiency of goods movement. These truck lanes represent a significant investment in our transportation infrastructure for trucks and passenger vehicles alike.”
Event participants included Los Angeles County Supervisor and First Vice Chair of the Metro Board of Directors Michael Antonovich, State Senator Sharon Runner, Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, Metro Board of Directors Member and City of Glendale Councilman Ara Najarian, Golden State Gateway Coalition Chairman Tom DiPrima, and California Highway Patrol Captain Mark Odle.
The project, which will be completed in early 2014, is funded by the State Highway Operation and Protection Program ($70 million) and Measure R ($2 million). The contractor is Flatiron West of San Marcos, Calif.
For more information about the I-5 truck lanes project, click over to the I-5 website.
Missed the groundbreaking? Check out the video!