Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Caltrans Completes Repairs to I-5 and SR-118 Interchange in Pacoima

Caltrans Completes Repairs to I-5 and SR-118 Interchange in Pacoima

On a rainy January morning in the San Fernando Valley community of Pacoima, a big rig truck traveling north on Interstate 5 (I-5) to westbound State Route 118 (SR-118) interchange slammed through a concrete barrier on the overpass, hit an overhead sign structure and came to rest on the center median of the northbound I-5. The accident completely shut down the northbound I-5 lanes and caused extensive damage to the highway.

Our maintenance division responded immediately to the incident to make emergency repairs after the truck was hauled away. Crews battled the elements as they made temporary repairs to the damaged roadway and cleaned diesel fuel from the lanes to prevent the highway from being slick. Shortly before 4 p.m., Caltrans completed the emergency repairs and opened the highway just in time for the rush-hour commute.

Under a Director’s order, Caltrans District 7 began making permanent repairs in October and November to the northbound I-5 and westbound SR-118 connector. As part of the project, the northbound I-5 and SR-118 connector had to be fully shut down between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m. for 10 nights. Our contractor completed the repairs in early November, restoring the highway to current standards.

Caltrans reminds drivers to be “Work Zone Alert” and to “Slow for the Cone Zone” when they drive near a construction zone or while workers are making repairs on our roads. Motorists are advised to plan ahead, and check real-time traffic information using the Caltrans QuickMap, or by downloading the QuickMap app for free on any iPhone or Android device.

Friday, November 30, 2018

New Norwalk Blvd. Off Ramp from Northbound I-5 is Open!

The new Norwalk Blvd. off ramp from northbound I-5 is open to the public after a four month closure. The ramp is part of a project to add lanes to I-5 through Norwalk and to reconstruct the I-5 interchange at Norwalk Blvd.

Where the ramp meets Norwalk Blvd., there are three lanes: left turn to San Antonio Dr; right turn onto Norwalk Blvd.; or straight to Imperial Highway.

Photos below:



Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Caltrans Dedicates Fallen Workers Memorial

Caltrans Fallen Workers Memorial Interchange 
Honors Highway Workers Who Lost Lives in Line of Duty

Earlier this month, Caltrans held a ceremony to dedicate the Foothill Freeway (I-210) and Golden State Freeway (I-5) interchange as the Caltrans District 7 Fallen Workers Memorial Interchange.

Video of the dedication ceremony. 

State Assemblymember Luz Rivas, who authored a resolution to memorialize the interchange stated, “The Caltrans District 7 Fallen Workers Memorial Interchange honors the legacies of those who lost their lives building, maintaining, and operating one of California’s most valuable assets: its transportation system.” 

Since 1921, Caltrans has lost 189 employees statewide. Thirty-three of those employees killed in the line of duty worked in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. 

“The District 7 Fallen Workers Memorial Interchange, dedicated to those who served California as transportation professionals and made the highest sacrifice, will serve as a reminder to California drivers that we must continually recommit ourselves to safety,” said Caltrans Chief Deputy Director Ryan Chamberlain. “When you choose to speed, text, or drive under the influence, you are not only putting your life at risk, you are also putting others in serious danger.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, highway construction and maintenance work is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. Nationally, drivers and passengers account for 85 percent of the people who are killed in highway work zones. These numbers don’t include the close calls highway workers experience daily.

Family members and colleagues of fallen workers write messages on the back of the memorial sign. 

“The newly-named interchange helps us keep our fallen colleagues’ memories alive and keep in mind the tremendous loss that their loved ones have suffered,” said Caltrans District 7 Director John Bulinski. “This is an opportunity to remind ourselves that it is everyone’s responsibility to help keep our highway workers safe by slowing down, paying attention and moving over when amber lights are flashing.”

Caltrans will invest $54 billion in state highway and local roads across the state by 2027 due to Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. SB 1 will upgrade 7,700 traffic operating systems and fix over 17,000 miles of pavement, 500 bridges and 55,000 culverts or drains. That means that motorists will encounter even more highway work zones and must stay alert for construction and maintenance workers and equipment.

Drivers can dramatically improve safety in work zones by slowing down, reducing distractions such as talking on the phone or texting, and dedicating all attention to the roadway. Motorists are also required by state law to move over a lane when safe to do so, or slow down when approaching vehicles with flashing amber warning lights.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Rye Fire Repairs Completed on I-5 and State Route 126

Caltrans has completed repairs on Interstate 5 and State Route 126 in Santa Clarita following the Rye Fire, which burned more than 6,000 acres in northern Los Angeles County beginning on Dec. 5, 2017.
A crew works to prevent erosion near I-5 and State Route 126 in Santa Clarita.

Caltrans completed the $1.1 million contract at the end of October. 

The range of work included repairs to fire damage to the roadside facilities and support slopes, and protecting the highway from post-fire erosion of the support slopes. 
Repairs underway on I-5.

The contract included repairs to fire-impacted drainage systems, the fire-damaged wood posts of metal beam guard rails and fire-damaged roadside signs.

Fire debris was cleared from drainage facilities. Support slopes were stabilized using hydroseeding and fiber rolls to limit erosion from rain.

Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency in Los Angeles County due to the effects of the Rye Fire.

The wildfire destroyed six structures and forced a four-hour closure of I-5 in both directions as a precaution due to shifting winds that pushed the flames in unpredictable directions. More than 1,300 homes were evacuated. The fire was fully contained on Dec. 12, 2017.

More than 1 million vehicles a week travel on I-5 (the Golden State Freeway) in the Santa Clarita area, reflecting its importance as an essential route for transporting goods between California's Central Valley and the Los Angeles metro region including the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, as well as its importance for business and leisure travel and commuters.

Crews work along the connector ramp from westbound State Route 126 to northbound I-5.

The damage on the slopes of I-5 occurred along the northbound side of the freeway from Rye Canyon Road (approximately post mile 54.1) to Hasley Canyon Road (approximately post mile 56.6). Damage along the slopes of State Route 126 was along the westbound side of SR-126 at the northbound I-5 on-ramp connector (approximately post mile 5.6 to 5.9).

The project included fire repairs and protecting highways from post-fire erosion of the support slopes on I-5 and State Route 126 in Santa Clarita.

How Do We Build Sound Walls?

Sound walls are the large block walls along the shoulders of our interstate highways and freeways that provide a sound barrier from traffic noise and a visual barrier from traffic to local residents and businesses. How do we build them?

First a traffic barrier rail is constructed. A rebar frame for the rail is built and then a form is placed over the frame to pour concrete:

Then the form is removed to reveal the concrete traffic barrier:

Then cinder blocks are delivered:

The first two rows of the sound wall are constructed with special high pressure blocks for increased support and safety. The arrow in the photo below indicates the special type of block to the workers:

Then the workers begin assembling the wall by securing the blocks over the rebar frame:



On many of the walls, "pilasters" (decorative columns) are constructed to create an aesthetically attractive wall for the communities and residents:

Until the wall is complete:

Friday, October 26, 2018

What is an Austin Vault Sand Filter?

While difficult to discern from photos, this type of sand filter system consists of two chambers or basins.

  • The first is the sedimentation chamber, which removes floatables and heavy sediments. 
  • The second is the filtration chamber, which removes additional pollutants by filtering the runoff through a sand bed. The water then discharges through an outlet pipe to a storm drain.

Caltrans District 7 is installing Austin Vault Sand Filters (AVSFs) and accompanying environmental protection systems to improve water quality standards for runoff discharging at 12 locations along U.S. Route 101. The project stretches over 29 miles from downtown Los Angeles to Calabasas (map below). The work also involves slope paving under bridges to prevent soil erosion. The project is expected to continue until 2021. Powell Constructors of Fontana is the contractor on the project.
The total cost is $33 million. The project has been implemented to meet the requirements of Storm Water Mitigation Programs, Soil Stabilization Program, federal Clean Water Act and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Construction of an AVSF is currently underway from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday on the northbound side of U.S. Route 101 at the Kling Street and Laurelgrove Avenue intersection in Valley Village. The work is expected to continue until March 2019, with minimal impact to traffic and residents are provided access during work hours. Plans include planting new trees once work is completed.

Installation of a second AVSF has started on the southbound side U.S. Route 101 at Sarah Street in Studio City. Preliminary work involves clearing the area of brush and debris.

Technical Diagram

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

SB 1 Project Accelerates Repairs on US Highway 101, State Route 23

Caltrans is accelerating repairs on U.S. Highway 101 and State Route 23 in Ventura County due to funds from Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017.
A construction crew places new concrete on U.S. Highway 101 in Thousand Oaks.

Crews are continuing to make progress on the $2.8 million pavement preservation project in the cities of Thousand Oaks and Moorpark in Caltrans District 7. Guills Inc. of Pasadena is the contractor on the project.
Saw cutting on U.S. Highway 101.

Crews are replacing concrete slabs on US 101 and Route 23 in both cities, and repairing asphalt pavement at on- and off-ramps on Route 23 from Thousand Oaks to Moorpark. Application of slurry seal is also part of the project.

The construction phase began in early September. Completion of slab replacement on US 101 is expected at the end of October. The remaining work on Route 23, which includes slurry seal and final striping, is expected in November.

The project spans a distance of more than seven miles on US 101 in Thousand Oaks, from 1.7 miles north of the Hampshire Road undercrossing to one mile north of the Wendy Drive overcrossing. (See map below.)

On Route 23, the project spans a distance of about 6.5 miles, from the 23/101 interchange in Thousand Oaks to a tenth of a mile south of the Los Angeles Avenue undercrossing in Moorpark.

A crew completes crack seal application on U.S. Highway 101 in Thousand Oaks.
US 101 and Route 23 are major commuter routes as well as freight corridors, enduring significant wear and tear. The project is designed to extend the useful life of the roadway and provide a smoother and safer ride for commuters, freight and other travelers.

More than 190,000 motorists per day travel on this segment of US 101 and more than 100,000 per day on this segment of Route 23. They include more than 7,100 truckers per day on US 101 and half of those trucks have five or more axles, adding to the wear and tear on the roadway.

New concrete placed on U.S. Highway 101 in Thousand Oaks.